Per crucem ad lucem

I wrote a poem 3 years ago for a friend of mine who has lived as a hermit in a pine forest for over 25 years, and who wrote about some intense physical suffering he has undergone – and about what a gift that pain was to him to come to know Christ in such an intimately physical way.  He referenced in his letter that the crib-wood and cross-wood both opened to him access to the same Tree of Life.

This reminded me of a number of medieval women-theologians who spoke so vividly of their own bodily suffering as, far beyond intellectual knowledge, a supreme form of knowing Christ-crucified. In our highly anesthetized cultural approach to suffering, this insight is hard to access.

Hand me that Ibuprofen.

I was so flabbergasted by this hermit’s capacity to be transparent to this vantage, I had to poeticize my thoughts for safe viewing; so I wanted to share here his white-hot wisdom seen through my safely scattered refraction.  As with everything I write, it is merely an extrapolation on the Cross and its life-giving sap.  What else is there?

Here’s the poem:

Solitude, lonely God-flesh

hid mid pines and wood,

bled of slivers, silver doves

flutter above; silently stars

light-bathe a blazing Cowl.

Solitude, lonely God-flesh

hung on Oak, stolid Post,

bled of iron, crimson love

streams down; shamèd sun,

tenebrous day, soiled Face.

Solitude, lonely God-flesh

entombed by Stone-sealing,

bled dry, gray; lifeless air

hushing Sabbath, linen corpse

resting Sheol, nay, Unshackling.

3 comments on “Per crucem ad lucem

  1. “an extrapolation on the Cross and its life-giving sap” — Indeed, what else could there be?
    Suffering in our society is at best acknowledged vaguely and usually completely ignored, as if we ignore – it magically goes away.

    He is the Way and his Way is not without suffering and it isn’t some rich in love and mercy it cannot be ignored. Thanks be to God.

  2. Must be late in the year – his way IS so rich in love and mercy and cannot be ignored.

  3. Tom says:

    Thanks be to God! It cannot be ignored, and it IS rich.

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