A Canticle and Admonition inspired by closely reading the Holy Gospel According to Luke and the writings of Saint Augustine and John of the Cross
By John C. Evans
I heard a voice crying in the night,
The voice of one bereaved for love, as if crowned in a halo of healing tears,
And while I listened, I thought I knew the voice,
Although when and where I had first heard her crying, I could not say.
She cried neither with the thorns of cursing nor with the wine of horror,
Nor with the tongues of barbarous passion which disfigure the hearts of men,
But with a hallowed sweetness, born of a stainless sorrow,
With the pleadings of an emissary, uniquely knitted to her beloved, to her only Lord,
I heard her say-
“As a lamp stand I set you at my Son’s precious feet,
Watering you daily with the oil of fruitfulness and the olive branch of mercy.
In your youth you sowed aprons for your nakedness,
But our Father clothed you in the promise of my Son’s vesture,
With the skins of the lamb of atonement,
Not with the itching leaves of self-concern.
As a little flock, the least of all flocks He led you into Egypt,
And as a great nation, He spread your branches forth to the ends of the earth,
Laying waste to store-cities and grain-cities built on abomination,
That you might be a light to enlighten those who sit in darkness,
That you might be a tree whose roots render the barren land rich and the wild plot tame.
Likewise, as a little flock, the least of all flocks He led you to witness,
From the city of David to the court of Nero,
There, to topple the throne of the Caesars to the depths of the netherworld,
And raise high the throne of The Fisherman which He raised through the blood of His saints.
Then, you would not bend the knee to murderers of children.
Then, you would not teach your daughters to defile their tabernacles with crudeness or shut up their wombs from the gift of grace.
For you heeded in Israel the commandment in the stony tables
Not even to touch the unclean thing,
And in my Son who is the author and testator of The New Covenant,
You valued the praise of angels rather than the applause of princes,
You preferred the crown of witness above the crown of the ungodly,
The chased daughter of penance and clarity to the Jezebel of compromise.
Yet, even as the serpent beguiled Eve framed as an angel of light,
And led into captivity those who had known neither fetter nor chain,
With a cage entitled freedom, perfumed harlots seduced you from your perfection,
And caused you to exchange the truth of God for a lie, born of Cain’s promiscuous wrath,
So that even now, you commit self-murder.
For he who commits sins, wounds gravely his own self.
For though the cup taste as honey to the mouth,
Her grapes have been laced with the poison of scorpions.
At first, you shall say, “I am unburdened from my thoughts,
And in Babylon’s scarlet tresses I shall sow up for myself a hard-earned sleep.”
But my Son has testified in His blood, that such slumber leads not to rest,
But to the gates of Hades and to the fire of a tormented conscience,
To a seared conscience that shall never find salve to recover or stoop to sleep.
For these fickle mistresses that lead unto ruin,
Which are the world, the Flesh, and the Devil,
Can never fill the parched chalice of the heart,
Or provide the hidden manna on which the spirit feasts to the full and for which the mind gladly yearns.
Enter in at the narrow way while there is time for walking.
For your eyes have seen The Way and have heard His voice which I, in diverse lands and places have re-presented to you,
And although your brethren in Sheppard’s clothing prove themselves daily to be wolves or friends of wolves,
Let not your hearts bathe in the pools of gossip or in the stagnate sinks of crude report,
But keep now that which you have received from your fathers and for which they perished,
Not foregoing an inch of the battleground for which they spent their lives,
And when you too are put to the test, recall minding their deeds and patience,
Their kindness toward the very hands which sent them to the noose or the bonfire, into prison or into the jaws of ravenous beasts.
For by their love, they purchased many,
Leading countless souls out of the kingdom of Satan and into the glory of my Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ,
To whom be power and glory and honor forever,
Who is the source and summit of each and every life?
Remember from whence you were summoned,
And to whom you are daily called.
Take up the cross my little children,
And forget not the seven sorrows which I knew for your sake.
For these seven sorrows are as stones in your sling to topple giants,
And are able to keep you in penance until The Last Day.
See, now the Passion of my Son’s Holy Bride, the Church has come.
My sons be steadfast and prove yourselves worthy men, like John The Beloved Apostle.
My daughters be as bold as Magdalene who would not depart from The Sepulcher until she had learned tidings concerning her Lord,
Not thinking of the peril that could await her should she fall into the hands of the Ungodly,
But remaining in watchful penance,
Being mindful of the hour and her loyalty to her King.
Such devotion must be your constant care,
So that when they bring you before councils and try you and beat you,
And say all manner of evils against you, for my Son’s Sake,
In that day of your glory, you will be prepared, having confidence also in the working of the Spirit, the comforter,
Who has appointed you for such a time as this?
Therefore, be watchful and be fearless in your resolve.
For my Son, the Lord Our King has gone before you into battle,
And under the banner of His Holy Cross, all evils must pass away.
He shall trod out the winepress in his purging of the vineyard,
And dye His garments scarlet in his furious love, his consuming love, His love which shall drive the night to fade,
And all flesh shall be gathered before Him,
And every knee shall bend before the unveiling of His mighty name.
His reward is with Him for those who adore and cherish The Word and keep His commandments,
And of His throne which is of the Throne of David, there shall be no end.
For He is The Word, the font of living waters from which every good thing flows,
And in Him the dry place shall become a garden and the weary shall find their rest.”
Sing thou daughter Zion.
Sing with multitudes of angels and be glad.
For your eyes have beheld a glimpse of that wonder which is to come,
And your king has sent before His coming this echo of the wedding day.
The above piece is a poem like the cantos of Dante and not, in any way, to be mistaken for private revelation. As such, I hope merely that it stirs up pies trust in Our Lady the Immaculate Conception in your heart and leads you nearer to her Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, from who springs every grace and talent. I share this gift of artistry for His greater glory and to do Him honor. For as for my own self, I know I am merely dust that I am but clay. Thus, if you draw any encouragement from this canticle know that it is drawn from his eternal spring and not from my own finite mind. To Christ is the glory, now and forever. Amen
© 2019, Anthony Stine. All rights reserved. You may reuse or copy this post by giving credit and providing a link.