Friday, April 02, 2010

Good Friday

The Thirteenth Station
Emeric J. Carmody, O.Carm.

Glowering dusk and a figure at your knees;
The clotted Face against your burning breast.
Grief’s storm past, deeper seas
Wind-churn and boil to whiteness. At last His rest:
The ledgered sum full paid for Eden’s bail.
O mounting flame! As through His vacant eyes
The tangent riddles of your heart congeal:
Pale Gabriel. The stir of love within. Black skies
Kindled into ecstasy by the timbre in His cry.
Old Simeon. His Father’s house. That dark “not yet.”
And then, that sword-thrust dawn, He waved good bye
Through purple mists. John’s hand. The sun has set.
Cloth and aloes waiting. Enough. Heat-white,
Your heart shall sing Magnificat throughout the night.

Very special thanks are due to Fr Peter, for sharing the gorgeous sonnet above––the first time, a few years ago, and then again this year. You know it's good when we are forced to turn to Bach to find music to pair with it! Today's music is, of course, the beginning to the immortal Matthäus-Passion, a monumental piece so glorious as to beggar all description. It is required listening for Good Friday. Leonard Bernstein called it "a revered masterpiece––perhaps one of the divine dozen in all musical literature ... a work of such dramatic power and invention, as seldom, if ever, been equaled." I am inclined to agree with that assessment.

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