Canto

Instructions for living a life:

Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.

—Mary Oliver

{via}

Make no mistake: if He rose at all

it was as His body;
if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the molecules
reknit, the amino acids rekindle,
the Church will fall.

It was not as the flowers,
each soft Spring recurrent;
it was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled
eyes of the eleven apostles;
it was as His flesh: ours.

The same hinged thumbs and toes,
the same valved heart
that–pierced–died, withered, paused, and then
regathered out of enduring Might
new strength to enclose.

Let us not mock God with metaphor,
analogy, sidestepping, transcendence;
making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the
faded credulity of earlier ages:
let us walk through the door.

The stone is rolled back, not papier-mâché,
not a stone in a story,
but the vast rock of materiality that in the slow
grinding of time will eclipse for each of us
the wide light of day.

And if we will have an angel at the tomb,
make it a real angel,
weighty with Max Planck’s quanta, vivid with hair,
opaque in the dawn light, robed in real linen
spun on a definite loom.

Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are
embarrassed by the miracle,
and crushed by remonstrance.

—"Seven Stanzas at Easter",
John Updike, 1960.

Φῶς Ἱλαρόν

Phôs hilaròn hagías dóxēs, athanátou Patrós,
       ouraníou, hagíou, mákaros, Iēsoû Christé,
   elthóntes epì tḕn hēlíou dýsin, idóntes phôs hesperinón,
       hymnoûmen Patéra, Hyión, kaì Hágion Pneûma, Theón.
   Áxión se en pâsi kairoîs hymneîsthai phōnaîs aisíais,
       Hyiè Theoû, zoḕn ho didoús, diò ho kósmos sè doxázei.

{x} {xx}

Where is it that we were together? Who were you that I lived with? Walked with?

The brother. The friend.

Darkness from light. Strife from love. Are they the workings of one mind? The features of the same face?

Oh, my soul, let me be in you now. Look out through my eyes. Look out at the things you made.

All things shining.

The Thin Red Line, directed by Terrence Malick

Faith asks that we learn to live with mysteries, and not to wipe them away – for in wiping them away we may wipe away the face of the world.

—Roger Scruton, The Soul of the World
{x}

Faith is the commitment to giving oneself to being possessed by the mystery.

—Fabrice Hadjadj, in interview

But how do you wake a man knocked cold by love? Because, as he told me later, that’s what it was: the electric unearned love of the great Creator, traveling like light down the nerves of the Reverend Johnny’s arms, crackling out the tips of his fingers. […] I can feel it still, that sizzling jump inside my organs. It didn’t feel good, not as I would’ve suspected the touch of the Lord might feel, but I wouldn’t say it felt bad either. It only felt powerful, like truth unhusked.

Peace Like a River, chapter 3
Leif Enger

But somewhere on the side of the darkening hill a horse lifted its voice to neigh. The sound had the clear distance of history.

Peace Like A River, chapter 'Boy Ready'
Leif Enger

Vega nightfishes in the Great Sky River. Copyright © 2021

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