Cross of the Rock-shelter River

In a somber light a man passed by
The lonely path which carried him
Through shadow’d gloom within his heart
Without, it shone around him dark.

In day or night there was no change,
For dwelling alone, turned within
Naught to be seen but dull, unending
Living – man’s death with his sin.

So round ensnared by mind and thought
He traveled days and down the hills,
Turning ’round the mystery
Of our enslavement to our wills.

Until there found him forest green
And shaded hollow filled within
Near mottled flecks of violet shade
In feath’ry air, a misty sheen

Where stilled a hushed echo
And little creatures fled
Away from Man as man fled God
The trees clear bled, and green turned grey.

He halted, hearing a new wind
And with the sun’s break in the leaves –
Or was it leaves that broke the light? –
A shiv’ring slice of thought came twining
Through a door outside his mind.

You care for the tree which held Me,
And work with  tools that pierced Me,
But sadness finds you when you look,
At yourself and the faults and failings,
Of the souls I saved through these.


Don’t seal closed the open door,
I stand without a-waiting.
You snare your thoughts in circles,
Bruising your soul with sin,
But find escape, this prison break
When you just let Me in.

Escape not from yourself
Run never from your nature
If God became as one of thee,
You flee – you flee from me.


Find not disgrace in wandering
Deliberations deep,
If you will turn out from within
‘Tis My truth that you seek.

You think you fear Eternity –
But think of it as time,
You trap yourself in creation
Forgetting it is Mine.

While men fight bitter battles,
Rivers of blood red spills,
But the Man alive brings comfort
To the lost soul in the hills.


And as the moon arched high that night,
As sun fled playfully,
In a final jest the great light gave
The flare of the Trinity.

*The photo was taken on the bank of the Androscoggin River at sunset.
Its name comes from the Abenaki or Penobscot dialects, and means ‘River of rock shelters’.




The New Year

Ah, so 2020 is exiting and now everything will be fine – right?
My dear superstitious friends, 2020 happened to be the year in which humanity made a fumble. The name we place on a certain segment of time has nothing to do with what we do within it (proven by most children during ‘naptime’).
Of course we can always hope that this coming year will be ‘better’ than the past was, but maybe we ought to be hoping to be better in the year instead, and then Actually Being Better. If we wait around for humanity to perfect itself, we’ll die having done nothing for our souls

We live in a world where we are told simultaneously that we have to create ourselves, our futures, our world, and that we are helpless and despair is normal. That’s all true to some extent: We don’t make ourselves as we are in our body-soul-ness, but we do have some say in forming ourselves physically and spiritually; present actions necessarily have effect on the future and our neighbors; we are utterly helpless on our own; despair could be said to be ‘normal’ but that doesn’t necessitate ‘goodness’ or any moral excuse for doing so.

What we don’t hear much is that we have been given everything without deserving it, and should receive and give our Time, Bodies, Souls, with grateful humility and love, and exchange this short life for an unending one. We’re invited to do that by the Creator, always have been.
He gives something to us and asks for it back – perhaps that seems unfair but without Him we would have nothing to give. Love gives entirely of what is asked of it for the good of another and is consequently united to the Beloved. We are human and Small Fallen Ones at that, so we are given many opportunities to do just that.

It’s just another year, to Whom are we going to give it?
Who and What are you going to love primarily?
How are you going to write this next paragraph in your Eternity?

Seaside Battlefield

Oh tell, dark mud, stained and dyed in rivulets of blood,
Why scream harsh tones, the ravens and crows,
Amidst the ash and hellish cries, choking skies
Bone and flesh, metal-torn, bowing to the reaper’s horn?
 
What saw you fading to the years,
What said you against the deafened ears,
To still their hearts to cold hard death?
What wind you stole to take their breath,
How lie you silent, reeking mid-sun,
The first is finished, the war begun.
“Silence, mortal, I am but they
Who in late years have passed this way,
They died to fall and live in me,
Someday to fall into the sea,
Forever roaring battle song

Assaulting ships and wrecking wrong.

“I saw more blood than I can hold,
To them who fell as they faded I told,
Be now at peace, no war can find you
And with new fire their forms flew on,
Kindling stars with battle-song,
The body of old falls deep to me,
Each soul goes to where he would be.
No tempest shrieking moves them now,
Before no conqueror shall they bow.
I lie here famished, glutted in death,
Waiting the tide to cleanse me again,
To send the memory of these wretched men,
To the grave, to the fish, to the birds, to their rest.”
And their memory? is it to be lost
As changing to fog flies the frost?
 
“What matters it now, they know who they are!
Some are remembered for the deeds they achieved,
But remember this, you hot-hearted fool,
Not Achilles would be known if not for the thousands
Who perished before him and after his wake,
Though his victims be piled and burned in red mountains,
Pain and oblivion spurting black fountains,
Leaving behind them ten thousand to grieve!
Alone man is futile, in battle or peace,
Surely ’tis true that great men may come –
Not one, I tell you, not a single one,
Has lived but for the weak who first raised him,
And if dying in violence and heat of Hell’s hate
Is action held worthy of memory and song,
Then hold still in closer the hope of each tide,
The flow of life and peace and war,
Each birth and death, every drop of rain,
Which over history cleans and renews
The ill or good fortune all nations shall choose.”

 

Judgement of a Soul

“Now you stand before me, give me the account of your soul. In this book is written all by your angel; all things you ever said, thought, did; to others or alone; with good intent or false. Shall we open it?”

The soul hid his face and replied: “You have already seen, you already know. Have mercy on me, my Lord.”

“Not all who address me as ‘Lord’ shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven, you know.
Look yourself and see what you have done with the Time appointed. Here . . . what is written?”

Slowly the soul raised his eyes to the pages as his angel opened the book, glistening with dark writing.
“So many things,” he said, “words of vices. Forgetting that One God alone Is, so many times I placed things of the fallen earth before you; Abuse of my tongue in blasphemous bouts of anger, calling on the powers of Heaven and Hell without regard, insulting Your Mother; Failing multiple times to attend the Mass or wandering in my mind when it is You I should have seen; Authorities countlessly scorned . . . “

Here the soul faltered and closed his eyes.
“I need not the pages to tell me. I know what I have done.”

“Then continue on.”

“Anger, unjust injury to other men, neglecting those who needed food, clothing, shelter. Once I looked on a woman with lust, not heeding my place or her soul. Oh, how could I have . . . Desiring what was unlawful and unjust. Lies and slander, deceitful speech and gossip. Being dissatisfied with the talents of others I knew, wanting them myself, looking at the property they owned and wanting it for my own.”

For what seemed like days to the soul, he stood with eyes closed and told of his misdeeds. When at last he could recall no more, “What then do you deserve?” asked the Judge softly.

“Hell.”

“And what do you desire?”

“Mercy.”

“Read the page again.”

The soul glanced up. The page was streaked with crimson, blotting out, washing away the black ink. Try as he might . . .

“Where has it gone? I can read nothing!”

As you can read, so do I remember,” the Messiah replied, “Justice convicts, Mercy forgets.”

“Oh, Sacred Mercy, Fountain of Compassion and Hope!” cried the angel, falling prostrate before throne, “Ask, O soul, and you shall truly receive!”

“Here now is a page blotted clean. Let us begin anew. In your shame you have forgotten all the good works of your life. Let me now relate them to you, and your angel will write them here – in gold.”
To God you gave honour and placed Me above all else; You praised My Name and offered much prayer to Heaven for the world; You have thousands of times stood near my Cross and joined yourself to My Sacrifice – Do you remember?
To your parents you gave assistance until their death and afterwards prayed for their souls, giving them much consolation; In humility, always did you strive to obey all men placed above you by My decree; You fed my hungry brethren, you gave them drink, clothed and sheltered them, buried those who walked on to Eternity, visited the sick, the lonely – You do remember this?
You gave consolation to the sorrowing, instructed those less of knowledge than you, brought sinners back to My fold, gave prudent words to they who were lost in doubt. You guarded Purity, cherished your wife and loved her beyond her death . . . Remember all.

For a year the soul knelt in front of the throne, hearing again and again the innumerable moments of grace in his past life, listening to the beautiful words, remembering, being drawn into happiness.
Do you remember? Take consolation. All of this, you did for me.”

Pages now shimmered with white gold, the crimson Blood bathed them with light.
The angel wrote a name on the last page – a name wholly unpronounceable in any mortal tongue. The soul read it and saw with wonder a reflection of himself within a greater Light.

“You are in Me, and I in thee. Come. Now you will be called Blessed. Enter, into the place which was prepared for you.

Evening Ramble

Hmm, ’tis been a good while since I wrote a decent ramble, and rarely do I ramble of late. Mostly I fog. ‘Fog’ is a verb now; you’re welcome.
Is it not frightful, the speed at which days end? They don’t happen fast. Time is mostly normal and steady (until it isn’t) and then the sun trips on a cloud or tree-branch – Whoops! Down it goes, the world gets sleepy . . . and it all goes Dark.

– Side thought, the sunset is not just a big circle, it’s actually a huge circle-rainbow on a circumference of the globe at all moments. Think about it for a minute –

Something about Time has always fascinated me. I really do think that there is a smallest unit of time, for it is a measurement of motion. If one could find the smallest possible thing, with the fastest possible motion in the . . . shortest possible time. No, I just hit a problem there. Speed is distance divided by Time, and distance is a Thing which can just keep being divided – as far as we know at least, nobody can magnify anything enough to tell. Perhaps there is in theory, no shortest unit of time. It’s all numbers in the end, all in our heads, and then we’ll die and find out that there is a certain Speed to Thought, and an Angel-flight is the shortest amount of Time when it happens IN the physical universe because somehow that works, however the spirits can be present to a thing not like them… After that we have the Eternity of God’s Word, and that’s not Time and obviously won’t do.
See? I rambled. It’s very easy and ought to be tried as long as you can mostly stay on the little trail in the forest. Never go off the path – that’s a rule, you know.

Also. Some of you readers may notice that there is a new page up on this website.

https://knightofthewhiterose.com/poetry-meditations-on-the-way-of-the-cross/

There’s absolutely nothing but a title and picture on it right now, but check back on that once in a while. I hope to complete it by Easter this year. Realistically it is a doubtful thing, but I hope nonetheless.

Don’t Wait for Tomorrow

The sunlight has dwindled to moondust,
And fixed in their usual place,
Uncountable stars are guarding the gate
To where gold does not turn to rust.

The day is now over, past are all it’s cares,
Tomorrow has yet to be born,
Be peaceful, Beloved, don’t meddle with Time,
It will come when it will come.

Each angel places a gentle kiss
On the face of each sleepy soul,
And guards with his shining, unyielding rod –
Sleep now, in the presence of God

The Love Not-Triangle

It takes three to make love, not two . . . Without God people only succeed in bringing out the worst in one another. Lovers who have nothing else to do but love each other find there is nothing else. Without a central loyalty life is unfinished.
~ Fulton J. Sheen

I don’t know what you may have thought, reading the above quote, but my very first thought was along the lines of “Ha, a love-triangle.”
Another moment of thinking and I convinced myself that saying such is far from the reality, even…yes, even on paper as a diagram. Could one have a triangle with God and two people as the points at which two sides connect? I think not. We were infinitely separated from God with sin, and only He could diminish that gap, the relation we have between each other was sundered, and every triangle is finite and the three points are connected by straight line segments.

Can this be thought of or drawn out as a line? It does appear to come closer to reality, if God is the center point and the two lovers are points at the end of the line.
Still wrong, the people are connected to God but at an infinite distance.

What about a circle? The people are two points on the circumference, and God is the center. What if each person was on a different circle – with God as the center of both, and the radii – the distance each is from God – is somehow representative of the spiritual flaws separating them from Him. Now all that is needed is for both people to go closer to God, and draw the other with them so that they might be in a sense united with Him, different in being but also the same.

I myself do not know why I tried to think of this in somewhat mathematical imagery. It just jumped into my mind. It did not clear up the mystery of Love any further. Certainly not surprising, since the works of God are not necessarily to be understood now or even in Eternity . . .

Life is unfinished, incomplete without a central loyalty, and the purpose of life is essentially to love – Ourselves, our neighbor, our Creator. If that loyalty is to anything but God, it is empty and not love but a lie. True love aims for the highest good of the beloved for his or her own sake – to be united with God eternally – and sacrifices whatever is required to that end.

Just throwing a few rambled thoughts out there on this Sunday afternoon.

Spera in Deo

“My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?”

Twas another dark night, the candle had blown out, another soul had lost sight of the Crucifix. A room of stone, clean but empty, had fallen with the sun into a darkness, and though there had been for a while a small light, the darkness had overcome it. From the Emptiness like a heartbeat echoed the voice of the Timeless Love:

“Have I though, child? You fastened me here with your iron; I will not to leave without you driving me away as you drove these spikes out of your sight and into my limbs, and then I would wait just beyond your sight until you called for me. Love always waits, you know.
When you placed me on this torment, such violence did you use that the angels themselves did not know if you wanted to kill or detain me.
If I have remained, Beloved, can I then also abandon you alone?”

“My Lord, have I then forsaken Thee?”

The cold wind wailed and beat about the room; on the candle in the center showed a dull red spark, just visible, smouldering and kept alive by the very wind that had extinguished it. From the Nowhere which contains Everything came another voice, just as loving as the first but deeper, and somehow more ancient in Eternity:

“Beloved Son, listen to me. If you had cast me aside with all Hope, would you hear me? You seek as a blind man does now. If you would not ignore the warnings of the setting sun and refuse to bar the door against the darkness, your flame would not have gone out. But you are not so hardened with the cold that the Death will take you; Rise, close the door. I am here and none other shall enter unless you permit your heart to become too cold to sustain Love. If you truly had faith, you would see. But the little you do have is enough for now – you can still feel. Quickly now! Without Faith, Hope can not abide in you.”

The soul hesitated, a tear sliding icily down his face, and then slowly groped about. He finally found the floor, then a wall – how cold it was, and covered with ice – and at last it caught the door, pushed it closed, and waited in the dark, shivering. Listening desperately for the Voice again, he heard only his own heart. No sound could he hear, no guiding Voice – But he knew where his table was. That very faint red spot in the air marked the candle on it, and the matches should be next to it, if he recalled correctly.
He slowly crept forward, right hand in front of him, and after several long seconds he found the table. Another moment of clumsy groping found him the matches, and the smouldering wick was still there.
All that he had to do was to strike a light – but he was afraid. Frightened of the rocks that formed his walls, the emptiness of the room; so apprehensive of seeing again the Crucifix –
But he feared more the darkness, and the pain of sight is better than the loneliness of the Night. He knew how long the night would last if he did not end it soon.

A small scratching, then a little light flared up, one flame ignited a second. A warmth which the soul had not felt since the sun fell off the Mountain days ago filled the room, and his heartbeat once again kept time with the world.

“My Saviour, my Hope, why hast Thou not forsaken me?”

A third Voice rang out, holding in it the notes of an Ancient Wisdom, like the liquid whiteness of a full moon:

“Does a Lover abandon his Beloved? Though a man ask for Hell, Mercy remains to him. The drawing forth and cleansing of sinners is the delight of Mercy, not their condemnation. You know this, and yet you question as though you had not the worth of a sparrow. You have seen the Sign, why should the Begotten from Whom I proceed permit you to hold him as you do, if not to show you the way of Love?

The soul was tired, and wanted to sleep – he could now, the Darkness was gone. Before he could though, he wanted to know: “Do I speak to Three or One?”

From the corner where the Crucifix hung, a Whisper of Eternity brushed and swirled for a moment. It was as though all three Voices were combined, and as the soul lay down to rest in the little light of his heart with God:

What does your Faith tell you?” came the Loving Reply.

Christus est Natus

Having few words to say myself after reading Things concerning the subject, The Nativity of Christ, I am simply providing the following upon which to think:

“Every mother, when she picks up the young life that has been born to her, looks up to the heavens to thank God for the gift which made the world young again. But here was a Mother, a Madonna, who did not look up. She looked down to Heaven, for this was Heaven in her arms.”
~ Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

“When I was present by the manger of the Lord in Bethlehem I beheld a Virgin of extreme beauty wrapped in a white mantle and a delicate tunic through which I perceived her virginal body. With her was an old man of great honesty and they had with them an ox and ass. These entered the cave and the man having tied them to the manger went out and brought in to the Virgin a lighted candle which having done he again went outside so as not to be present at the birth. Then the Virgin pulled off the shoes from her feet, drew off the white mantle that enveloped her, removed the veil from her head laying it beside her, thus remaining only in her tunic with her beautiful golden hair falling loosely over her shoulders. Then she produced two small linen cloths, and two woolen ones of exquisite purity and fineness which she had brought to wrap round the Child to be born, and two other small cloths to cover His head, and these too she put beside her. When all was thus prepared the Virgin knelt with great veneration in an attitude of prayer; her back was to the manger, her face uplifted to heaven and turned toward the East. Then, her hands extended and her eyes fixed on the sky she stood as in an ecstasy, lost in contemplation, in a rapture of divine sweetness. And while she stood thus in prayer I saw the Child in her womb move; suddenly in a moment she gave birth to her own Son from whom radiated such ineffable light and splendour that the sun was not comparable to it while the divine light totally annihilated the material light of St. Joseph’s candle. So sudden and instantaneous was this birth that I could neither discover nor discern by what means it had occurred. All of a sudden I saw the glorious Infant lying on the ground naked and shining, His body pure from any soil or impurity. Then I heard the singing of the angels of miraculous sweetness and beauty. When the Virgin felt she had borne her Child immediately she worshiped Him, her hands clasped in honour and reverence saying: ‘Be welcome my God, my Lord, my Son.’ Then, as the Child was whining and trembling from the cold and hardness of the floor where He was lying, He stretched out His arms imploring her to raise Him to the warmth of her maternal love. So His Mother took Him in her arms, pressed Him to her breast and cheek, and warmed Him with great joy and tender compassion. She then sat down on the ground laying the Child on her lap and at once began to bestow on Him much care tying up His small body, His legs and arms in long cloths, and enveloped His head in the linen garments, and when this was done the old man entered, and prostrating himself on the floor he wept for joy. And in no way was the Virgin changed by giving birth, the color of her face remained the same nor did her strength decline. She and Joseph put the Child in the manger, and worshiped Him on their knees with immense joy until the arrival of the Kings who recognized the Son from the likeness to His Mother.”

From the Revelations of St. Bridget of Sweden

Venerable Brethren, may the Virgin Mother of God hear the prayers of Our paternal heart – which are yours also – and obtain for all a true love of the Church – she whose sinless soul was filled with the divine spirit of Jesus Christ above all other created souls, who “in the name of the whole human race” gave her consent “for a spiritual marriage between the Son of God and human nature.” Within her virginal womb Christ our Lord already bore the exalted title of Head of the Church; in a marvelous birth she brought Him forth as the source of all supernatural life, and presented Him newly born, as Prophet, King and Priest to those who, from among Jews and Gentiles, were the first to come to adore Him. Furthermore, her only Son, condescending to His mother’s prayer in “Cana of Galilee,” performed the miracle by which “his disciples believed in Him.” It was she, the second Eve, who, free from all sin, original or personal, and always more intimately united with her Son, offered Him on Golgotha to the Eternal Father for all the children of Adam, sin-stained by his unhappy fall, and her mother’s rights and her mother’s love were included in the holocaust. Thus she who, according to the flesh, was the mother of our Head, through the added title of pain and glory became, according to the Spirit, the mother of all His members. She it was through her powerful prayers obtained that the spirit of our Divine Redeemer, already given on the Cross, should be bestowed, accompanied by miraculous gifts, on the newly founded Church at Pentecost; and finally, bearing with courage and confidence the tremendous burden of her sorrows and desolation, she, truly the Queen of Martyrs, more than all the faithful “filled up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ…for His Body, which is the Church”; and she continues to have for the Mystical Body of Christ, born of the pierced Heart of the Savior, the same motherly care and ardent love with which she cherished and fed the Infant Jesus in the crib.

Mystici Corporis Christi, Paragraph 110, Pope Pius XXI