My Kingdom is Not of This World (II)

With great creaks and a groan, a giant stone,
By the very Sling of God was thrown –
Towards the Holy City hurled.
With it rose a riotous cheer,
That struck and frightened the Saracen ear.

There the Father looked down on his little boys,
For His honour fighting with their metal toys.
Smiling, He whispered through their clamour and fight,
While stars burst forward in the evening light,
And steel edge hissed and javelins twirled,
“My Kingdom, sons, is not of this world.”

Audio Version:

A Father’s Advice: On Vulgar Readings and Social Expectations

A group of men together might have reason to face, and discuss shameful things, but to force it in speech upon women is to assault them, and anyone who says otherwise, doesn’t have any respect for the feminine soul – plain and simple.

There was a time in our culture that just speaking that way in front of a lady would require a physical defense of her – a good punch in the face – why? Because any man who is so clueless needs that kind of response before he begins to understand the seriousness of it. (Obviously that means is not open to us anymore.)

Also, just because some or a particular woman are not offended does not justify it. As the popes have said – and I’m paraphrasing – “isn’t that proof that something good has already been destroyed…”

Anyway, while Aristophanes is bad, Chaucer is worse, for he surrounds his sexual crudity in Christian context.

The best argument from the perspective of Christian social virtue, which only is of benefit to those who are sincere in their desire for developing Christian social virtue, is St. Paul, when he tells the Christians to stop engaging in vulgar speech, and that they should not so much as mention shameful things among themselves. Maybe Catholic colleges should spend more time reading the epistles.

There are those who are desensitized because of our culture who will not understand, but will respect your position. There are those who are corrupted by our culture, who will attack you for it because you are essentially calling them barbarians. But it doesn’t matter. Manhood does not require one to overpower one’s opponents, but to stand firm, like a rock, in peace and conviction, so that all those who wish to be protected and secured to that rock can depend on it. Men come to the defense of others so that others may be free. It is not a matter of forcing anything upon anyone, but protecting those who wish to be free to pursue truth and goodness.

  . . . the peace I mention is not the peace of inaction, or silence, but the peace of confident action, steadfast commitment to virtue, and silencing our own interests (and sometimes our tongue) for the good of others. It is a lifelong practice . . .

Don’t be alarmed, your instincts are very good, and correct. It’s comforting for a father to read such thoughts from his son because my instinct toward our modern society is to wince as we let you face it and hope you don’t be too bruised by it.
But I trust God will  look after you, and give you a humble and patient heart so that you learn things in the right way.
The only danger to you is the threat of the absence of peace in your heart as you try to live in accordance with these instincts.

Always remember that the best practices in gentlemanly behavior are founded in true charity for others, are conducted in the peaceful mannerisms of a quiet strength that never forces itself on others, (but stands in force in defense of others) and can stand up to the disturbances that are tossed at it.

Be peaceful, my son!

The World Fell Silent

Did everyone simultaneously become deaf or did everything in the universe fall silent? 

On a certain level the two are the same despite the first being a defect in hearers and the latter a simple absence of noise-making. But whether it was deafness striking all creatures that can hear or every noise being utterly quieted, there was made Silence.

Imagine if you will, a world forced for a day to bear no noises.

People put their hands to their ears, a strange fear creeping up their arms.
Man-made noise, pretended art, dies leaving only the cold hole that it formerly clouded. Images serve as no shield. There is nothing to drown the heavy soundlessness. Now consciences long strangled begin to whisper, questioning, probing, revealing in reflection.
All attempted speech makes only a little tingling in the throat. Curses and angry words move only in hearts, poison only the hearts who made them.
Many turn about and go numbly, quickly, to the safety of their homes, little man-made worlds. Shelters offer no refuge – further must many fly.
God is too proximate when the mind is unfettered, the self is too well known and some unbind their souls.

The Word of God remains unheard still by these, His commands and pleas abandoned.
But there are still a few who remember Him as always.

In the clarity of quietude angels continue their missions unmoved.
The old priest in the chapel never notices the difference, for all the noises of earth are nothing.
Religious women bring forth prayer in silence still and listen with their hearts.
The mother holding her sleeping child looks in silence – nearly adoration – on the miracle she made with God.
Men follow St. Joseph, continue the work of their hands and never feel the absence of idle talk.
Butterflies swoop skyward and the little ants continue on with their duties, unfazed as ever by the oddities of humanity.

The Ressurection

As the first pulse of the world beat out in throbbing tones,
Fanning heat from the depths of the darkest regions,
In a blast more fearful than Lucifer’s fall
At which our globe still grievously groans,
Or Zeus’s rods of war now molten,
In a thunderous whiplash striking the earth
Opening a wound as a lance to a heart,
So casting himself from Heaven came the angel to God,
Calling for stones to yield and give birth,
Rending the barrier of men apart,
And the soldiers’ spirits retreated before the awful sight,
Falling as smitten with the spirit’s rod.
The messenger tore the iron chains and rock apart,
In a righteous fury and holy might,
Summoning Creation to salute its King,
Bowing to the One Who Lives.

Christus Surrexit!

Weep Not for Me

Weep not for me, children of God, but for yourselves,
Sinners, and for the sins yet to be by your children.
Rejoice that you see my suffering, for it is fitting that I –
So that all may know what sins have caused – should die.
Sorrow not for my wounds nor for the burdening beam,
Which heavy now, pushes further into my brow the thorns
Of pride that so numbly ride and rule the Head of God,
But for the transgressions that make My Blood stream.

Shed no tear for this Blood shed,
Let lamentations cease. Give peace instead,
And follow Me distantly to the death of your sins,
Mourn the lives lost, dear daughters – not Mine;
Rather each everlasting life spent spurning My Love.
Cry for the crimes convicting Me, Who now,
Obeying and willingly reach out to gather in all from the world.

When the earth is shadowed in darkness,
And the Light of the World seems unlit,
The unworthy dust, more worthy than man,
Will drink, and writhe at the cost of this Blood.
Weep then for your loss, and for your Mother’s grief
Who bore to you Me in no pain,
But now in receiving all as her new children,
Conceives this Conception, gives birth by My death.

Regret the cause of her sorrow,
And look on He Who you killed –
Not for My pain, My wounds, My death,
But hers, and theirs and yours,
And in this you will honour Me,
Remembering why –
I must die.

Illium’s Rebirth

Traveler, you seem to me blind. Permit me to be all of your senses for you while you rest here. If you would, lift the eyes of your mind, be willing to see and I will be a light to you. Listen now to words and let them wash over you; stand like a rock in the breakers, for distant, deep blue and ancient, as a thing older than the sky, lies the sea.

Serene, unshaken by war, it murmurs melodically, playing with dead men, toying with broken armour; washing clean the shining spearheads strewn by the hundreds on the shore which look like teeth of some sea monster. All have been borne and gifted to her by the river. The waves adorn the shore with an array of glittering bronze like a goddess flirting with vanities. After claiming these things of man unchallenged it stretches, reaching out beyond the sight of man to comprehend the world.

Look closer about you, take a breath. Here is a field once green and thriving but now a hoof-torn muddied field, littered with corpses of horses and men. The earth is steaming still from heated battle and blood and the angry glare of the sun.
The heavy tang of rusted iron rises with the fog where the swords of deity contended; black mire oozes in great pools and dark red streams mingle with them. Even the blood of gods has fallen here in this contest of fate and the earth greedily draws it in.

Listen . . . listen. No sound of the ocean reaches here.
Following the clouds rising, dark with the scent of blood, crows call to their brothers, screeching as bone broken by bronze or steel shivering on stone, summoning one another to the dark feast of the dead.
The slain lie as wheat newly cut and the harvesters gather. 
The dogs are coming.

Look up now. Look up.
As the daylight recedes in a sanguine glow, the sky is unevenly divided – the east still is light. Nature is defied.
A burning city shudders and groans in a great ruddy smoke, flares and flames as though it were another sun contending with Apollo’s chariot. Ghosts of the dead prophecy there, petition their cruel gods for rest and the ancient altars are broken.

And born again in bloodshed, the world grows silent in the sunrise of Rome as the sun falls on fallen Troy. 

The Death of St. Joseph

O Lady of Stars, did you sorrow when
Your silent champion closed his eyes
After looking long on you,
Beauty which bore
God from the Highest to men,
And saw one like himself, yet more –
When you saw him gaze on the Mystery?

My Mother, did his steady eyes soften,
On leaving you behind in this deep night?
Or did he rejoice that he should wait to pass,
Beyond the hovering of soul near Paradise
In silence, for your Son to go before him as a light?
Did you give him to your Son, detached
In pure love, as Joseph gave himself to you?

Did he wait for you just in the Door;
Escort you as his once-cherished bride –
Now Queen,
And give to you the crown he’d made
From the Thorns of Christ now blossomed?

The Red Star Stream

Deep flew refraction of ruddy light,
From the heart of the black-water stream,
Flashing, serenely mocking the stars,
Which coursed forever, cutting the earth.
Caps of whitened foam were beating across
Red silt and the shining of smooth-rounded rocks,
Polishing ever anew the fine grain,
Sending the sands above to engrave,
And feather the ancient faces of glass.
As blood over iron, so flew rivulets;
Black iron water and blood-red stones
Mingling, separate, together, alone,
Chanting of change, repeating the song,
For centuries’ incantation of washing clean wrong,
Purging anew the stones as they bled,
Sifting the silt and the slime as they fed
All trees which dipped fingers down to the cool,
The grasses a-resting upon the small pools,
Renewing, refreshing the freer of creatures
Singing of life, the unliving sang,
And ever in memory the symphony rang

Winter’s Triumph

One quavering note of winded horn,
Was forced aloft, brazen and high, 
Lifted and on winter winds borne,
Upwards through the frozen sky.

It silver echoed from the moon,
Resounded into darkening gloom,
Passed through forests far below,
Tired then swiftly through the snow,
And by such cold was forced to die.

Again the Hunter sounded his call,
Summoning ice from skies to fall,
To sweep the earth with iron death,
With one silent, frosty breath.

One stroke and winter would be his,
The sun could offer no true hope –
Then was triumph of the cold,
That in one night transformed the gold,
To paler light, more blinding, steel.

The forest froze, no creatures sang,
Only the horn of the Hunter rang,
Despairing, the moon watched the sun fall
As Winter came, and conquered all.

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’.