A Man Clothed in Sin

A man clothed in sin
Walked the long aisle
To stand before the Crucifix.

Long years,
No tears,
He came to say,
“You died for me,
And I don’t give a damn!”

The hardened before the Hallowed,
The clock running down,
Time spent and unreflected,
Deeds done and unrepentant.

Challenged to say the words,
He began,
“You died for me,
And I don’t give…”

Undaunted, he repeated,
“You died for me
And I don’t…..”
Gaze focused
On that bloodied Corpse,
Resolute, again, he began.
“You died for me…”
…….
“You died for me…”
“You died for me!”

Tears, tears,
Rivers of tears,
Years unspent,
And now in flood.

Miracles at the Red Sea,
Yet, none greater
Than the Passover,
One innocent Lamb,
Slain, and yet standing,
Lifted up,
Drawing thee.

© 2012 Joann Nelander
All rights reserved

 

Inspired by another story :

 

MONDAY, 6 AUGUST 2007

Cardinal Lustiger RIP 1926-2007


I didn’t always agree with the former Archbishop of Paris, Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, who died yesterday, but his tenure of that see brought a great deal more good than harm, I think. On his watch, the Catholic life of the city gained a huge boost; the new movements revitalized many parishes, and vocations to the priesthood soared. I remember that he habitually celebrated Mass in Notre Dame almost every Sunday evening for the young people who came to that Mass; a great example to the other bishops of France, many of whom are facing the priestly extinction of their dioceses.
I heard a story attributed to him—maybe it is one he told rather than a story about himself (since he himself was a Jewish convert). I was given to understand that the story is a true one.
Two boys were, out of mischief, determined to tease their parish priest, so they went to confession and made up outrageous sins, just to see what the priest would say. The priest, listening to the second boy, realizing that he was being ‘had’, and hurt by the mockery of the sacrament, asked the second lad as a ‘penance’ to go to the crucifix over the tabernacle and shout out loud, three times ‘you died for me, and I don’t give a damn’. The lad did as he was asked; by the third time he was in tears. Some years later, he was ordained a priest.
May Jean-Marie Lustiger rest in peace.

Dismiss All Other Loves!

Red draped the Crucifix as it proceeded amidst waving palm branches – blood red! Shouts of “Hail and hosanna” would soon change to “Crucify!” It is so brief a time to reign and be acknowledged as the Holy One of God.  Our homilist, Fr. Michael De Palma asked what happened? For the Church, not many weeks ago, we were gazing on the face of the Christ Child.  Angels sang and Wise Men bowed low. We sang:

Sacred Infant, all Divine,

What a tender love was Thine;

Thus to come from highest bliss

Down to such a world as this !

Teach, oh, teach us, Holy Child,

By Thy face so meek and mild.

Teach us to resemble Thee,

In Thy sweet humility !

What happened?  Have we, too, dismissed Him?  He reigns on our calendars, but what about our hearts? What other loves have replaced Him in our day to day?  Can we bear to look upon His disfigured Face?  Can we “Behold the Man?.”

Father Michael invited us to live this week differently from all others, to banish all other loves and gaze upon one bruised and bloodied Face.  Angels trembled at what we had done to the Son of God.  They trembled, too, at what He accomplished on that Cross for me and you.

We will soon sing with the Church around the world:

O Sacred Head, surrounded
by crown of piercing thorn!
O bleeding head, so wounded,
reviled and put to scorn!
Our sins have marred the glory
of thy most holy face,
yet angel hosts adore thee
and tremble as they gaze

I see thy strength and vigor
all fading in the strife,
and death with cruel rigor,
bereaving thee of life;
O agony and dying!
O love to sinners free!
Jesus, all grace supplying,
O turn thy face on me.

(Words Henry Williams Baker after Bernard of Clairvaux)

One Holy Week remains of Lent.  We are invited to walk these days with our Lord to Calvary.  Without the Cross there is no Resurrection, no Easter glory.  With Christ we, too, can rise again to new Life

“When He is King we will give Him the Kings’ gifts,
Myrrh for its sweetness, and gold for a crown…

When He is King they will clothe Him in grave-sheets,
Myrrh for embalming and wood for a crown..

Bethlehem Down – words by Bruce Blunt