Gloria in Excelsis

A single drape of sable tulle

Is placed upon the cross;

The altar’s stripped, the church is dark:

God’s people mourn their loss.

 

On Saturday, the candles’ flames

Set faces all aglow;

The world waits for “Alleluia:”

He’s risen- this we know.

 

Then Sunday morn, the lilies come,

Delighting every eye;

All’s been restored, sin’s trampled down,

And Death’s been made to die.

Villanelle for the Great Vigil

This is the day that silence stretches thin:

In loneliness creation’s groans do sound,

But very soon a new day will begin.

 

Betrayed, denied, and cursed by mocking din,

His cries of anguish echoed all around…

This is the day that silence stretches thin.

 

The crucified, salvation’s great lynchpin,

Brought darkness to above Golgotha’s mound;

But very soon a new day will begin.

 

His promise foolish- cleansing us from sin?

No god consents to be so tightly bound!

This is the day that silence stretches thin.

 

His spirit’s gone. All evil cheers their win.

Today his body lies in yonder ground,

But very soon a new day will begin.

 

Could time move on? Might life arise again?

The mysteries of heaven still resound…

This is the day that silence stretches thin,

But very soon a new day will begin.

Last Lullaby

Come down, come down, I’ll hold you close;

Now rest, O child of mine:

The thorns have stained your brow with blood,

Your lips are stained with wine.

 

Now rest, now rest, my firstborn son-

I weep to see you dead;

The blood and water from your side

Have dyed my sandals red.

 

I weep, I weep, for now I know

The fatal prophecy:

When steel nails pierced your wrists,

A sword did pierce through me.

Triduum Terza Rima

Mysteries commence on Thursday:

Second covenant arrives,

Second garden’s sorrowful way

 

Leads to Friday taking lives.

Dying, anguished, all-forsaken,

See how God for us now strives.

 

Holy Saturday is taken

By the creeping pace of Time.

Early morning, all awaken

 

For the Easter hymns sublime.

Then begins a new year over

With sanctification’s climb.

 

The Carpenter’s Son

Every day his feet are sore from walking.

Every day his dust-choked throat is dry.

Every day he prays before the sunrise,

Interceding for the hearts that cry.

 

Everyday: his clothes, his speech, his family.

Everyday: he stays near his small town.

Everyday: he seems so ordinary,

Yet some say if we knew, we’d kneel down.

 

Soon the day shall come when he is stricken,

Soon the day shall come when all is lost,

Soon the day shall come when he is murdered,

By friends and by the Romans double-crossed.

 

But for now, he takes a final rest-day,

But for now, he laughs with all his friends,

But for now, at his side Mary’s staying,

That Silent Wednesday “everyday” now ends.

Sonnet from a Sermon

O Pharisees, O scribes and teachers, woe!

You choose the steps that lead men from the path;

You fools would shut out honest men! And lo,

When dying, you shall see the LORD in wrath!

O Pharisees, who, tempted by men’s gold,

Do wrongly swear e’en as you rightly tithe!

You make the Word of God obscuring fold,

Neglect the faith, and lead the blind as guides!

O Pharisees, O scribes and teachers, fear!

In cleaning shallowly, I see your dooms:

You ask yourselves, “How well shall we appear,”

You whitewashed, moldy, crowded, corpse-filled tombs!

O Pharisees, you snakes! You viper’s brood!

Your lips repent; your hands are soaked in blood!

Sestina for the Final Days

Christ’s great entry leaves us hopeful,

Welcoming the end of waiting-

Roman rage will soon be hopeless,

Soon the empire will be falling!

Mannish kingdoms have all ended,

Joy’s new morning finally rising.

 

At the temple- anger rising,

Zealous Christ seems quite un-hopeful,

Now that so-called peace he’s ended.

Worshippers, confused, are waiting,

As the cages clamor, falling;

Whip’s loud snap makes profit hopeless.

 

“Pharisaic laws are hopeless,”

Claims the Christ, whose star is rising,

As the teachers plot his falling-

Crouching lions ever hopeful,

For the perfect moment waiting-

As he speaks of world that’s ended.

 

Silent Wednesday: preaching ended.

Lazarus no longer hopeless,

Sisters resurrection waiting-

From their dwelling Christ is rising.

Followers are acting hopeful,

Unaware of future falling.
Final supper: doom is falling,

Traitor’s kiss a friendship ended.

“Watch with me:” the three were hopeful,

Hours rendered them all hopeless

Sheep to slaughter- terror rising,

Jury for the trial waiting.

 

His last breath: the world is waiting.

Into Hell Creator falling,

One thief’s mocking laughter rising,

Now that Love’s own life has ended.

Shrouded, buried, all seems hopeless.

God is dead: can we be hopeful?
At his rising, weeping ended.

He, in falling, saved the hopeless;

Now in waiting we are hopeful.

On Politics and Vitriol

My Facebook feed is almost entirely right-wing; I am, after all, a grown-up church-kid WASP who goes to a notoriously conservative school. As a result, I see a lot of reactions to Ben Shapiro, Matt Walsh, and the like. And for the most part, that’s fine; I don’t agree with everything they say, but at least I can keep tabs on a very particular brand of news. Every so often, however, I find something, whether directly shared or just reacted to, that’s a little disturbing.

For example, a friend from high school shared a picture of  the Twin Towers burning. Over it, in sans-serif all-caps text, read “Adult college students need therapy because their candidate lost the election. In high school, we watched 3,000 people die on live T.V. and finished our lives without therapy.” Another posted an image of a protester whose sign had been Photoshopped to read “I’m for giving Muslims the same rights here that they give to Christians in their home countries.” Facebook comments in an article complaining about hysteria in another article included “Liberals (fake feminists) don’t have kids cuz they killed them all by exercising their ‘right’ to abort them” and “So, if there’s a moral to the story, even leftist children lie.”

Is this how we’re choosing to represent ourselves? By mocking others’ need to talk through events which hurt them or scared them (as the election results did for many people) in order to protect their mental health? By treating rights as a matter of religious affiliation because, hey, that’s what they’d do to us? By assuming that all liberals would abort children and lie to the public? By equating sensitivity with weakness, persecution with the Constitution, and a moment of questionable parenting with brainwashing tactics? Maybe my politics skew a little more left than some of my friends, and that’s why I’m not comfortable with this, but yikes.

Are we really going to treat our fellow citizens this way? Can we really look at a woman who is genuinely frightened about the possible connections between our current president and the white nationalist underbelly of the Internet, and joke that she worries too much and probably has had an abortion? Are we going to espouse a religion that teaches to turn the other cheek and love our enemies, only to shrug off the hurting who seek our shores in the name of national security and religious homogeneity?

Even if I didn’t believe that the second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself, this makes no sense from a pragmatic standpoint. I understand that, for the first time in eight years, our team’s in power. That’s exciting, although I (and many others) would rather it have happened under the leadership of a man fit to wield the power we’ve voted he should have. But is this how we’re really going to use the next four years? By making ourselves look crass, reactionary, and insensitive? When we behave like this, all we’re doing is hurting our cause. We’re never going to convert people if all we do is shout at them.

So what do I propose as a solution? Call me an idealist, but love might really be the answer. At the very least, try to listen to the other side. You don’t have to put on a pink hat and march on Washington, but understanding why someone would do so goes a long way. After all, if our end is ultimately the same (a better country), discussing the means seems a lot less challenging.

And, yes, I know, this doesn’t apply to all conservatives- the friends who shared those posts and articles are genuinely kind people. But I do think that that sort of rhetoric has no place in either party, especially not in the one which purports to stand for truth and absolute morality.

 

Slippery Slopes and Sacraments

Any good debater will no doubt be familiar with the Slippery Slope fallacy. For you weirdos that actually want to get along with your fellow man and don’t spend your time tearing apart their logic like a starving lion tears a gazelle, the concept is that “If X, then necessarily Y” only works if you can prove the causality. For example, I can only say “If I give my little sister this shirt for her birthday, she’ll wear it when summer arrives” if I can back it up. Now, that’s a pretty obvious example; as long as I know my sister’s taste in clothing, there’s a pretty good chance I’m correct. But what if I said “If I give my little sister this shirt for her birthday, she will immediately murder us all, burn down the house, and flee to Oklahoma?” There’d better be a lot of research backing that one, or I’m using the Slippery Slope- especially if I’m ultimately arguing that I shouldn’t buy the shirt in the first place.

So, why am I bringing this up? I assure you, it’s not just for the logic lesson. If I’m being honest (which I am, I mean, this is my blog, why wouldn’t I be telling the truth), it’s because I ended up on a Slippery Slope and I don’t know where it’s headed.

Continue reading