≡ Menu

Again, in spite of that, we call this Friday good.

The view from above

The wounded surgeon plies the steel
That questions the distempered part;
Beneath the bleeding hands we feel
The sharp compassion of the healer’s art
Resolving the enigma of the fever chart.

Our only health is the disease
If we obey the dying nurse
Whose constant care is not to please
But to remind of our, and Adam’s curse,
And that, to be restored, our sickness must grow worse.

The whole earth is our hospital
Endowed by the ruined millionaire,
Wherein, if we do well, we shall
Die of the absolute paternal care
That will not leave us, but prevents us everywhere.

The chill ascends from feet to knees,
The fever sings in mental wires.
If to be warmed, then I must freeze
And quake in frigid purgatorial fires
Of which the flame is roses, and the smoke is briars.

The dripping blood our only drink,
The bloody flesh our only food:
In spite of which we like to think
That we are sound, substantial flesh and blood—
Again, in spite of that, we call this Friday good.

From East Coker

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Richard April 19, 2019, 7:39 AM

    Recommended: “Death on a Friday Afternoon” by Fr. Richard John Neuhaus. A blessed Good Friday to all.

  • Kurt Miller April 19, 2019, 7:53 AM

    On The Cross, Lord, You remembered me,
    Help me each day to remember Thee.

  • captflee April 19, 2019, 9:18 AM

    Rick; Thank you, sir, for both the recommendation and for the blessing.

    Gerard, et al; One of the great embarrassments of my life is for far too long dismissing poetry as irrelevant, surely the folly of a young man in too much of a hurry to grasp the truth and beauty contained in the better works. Gerard, you have been instrumental in correcting that, for which you have my undying gratitude. And thanks to “Tom”, my fellow Anglo-Catholic convert, on that far shore.
    Perhaps it’s just me, but this has seemed an unusually solemn Holy Week, and this Good Friday appropriately ominous in appearance, with a strong line of storms bearing down on the southeast seaboard, though probably not as ominous as one I experienced pierside in Kuwait a decade and a half ago – sandstorms, lashing wind and rain, wild lightning, hail inches deep on the bridgewings, and me searching the company ops manual for a “Biblical Plagues and Portents of The End of Days” checklist to see whether falls of blood or frogs was next on the agenda. Suffice it to say that I was among those soldiers and sailors contritely kneeling in the dust, walls of stacked 40′ boxes our Cathedral, on Easter morning, me being capable of taking a hint.
    In any event, for all those here, please accept my best wishes for a joyous Easter, whether or not you follow Christ. And for Casey, sir, I have spent much of this week in quiet contemplation, attempting the difficult quest of quieting the world so that the quiet inner voice might be discerned, mainly by that simple yet difficult measure of S-ingTFU, so please do not take my silence in response to the personal info you disclosed (is that Hooah, or Hoorah?), etc. as rudeness or indifference. We will, God willing, someday be afforded the opportunity to meet and swap lies. Make mine a Macallan…

    Lee

  • captflee April 19, 2019, 10:06 AM

    All;
    For those of you of the Jewish faith, “Chag Kasher V’Sameach!”
    and for our Muslim friends, have a happy Bara’at Night!

  • Richard April 19, 2019, 11:25 AM

    Upon reflection I offer my most sincere words of gratitude to Mother Mary for saying “yes” and who perhaps did not know, that by saying “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word”, her own heart would be someday pierced.
    https://tinyurl.com/yxkskqmt
    The hour draws near. It. Is. All. Grace.

  • Rob De Witt April 19, 2019, 1:45 PM

    It. Is. All. Grace.

    Indeed so; yesterday I turned 74. I became a Catholic eight years ago on the day John Paul II was beatified.

    Through many dangers, toils and snares
    I have already come
    ‘Twas Grace that brought me safe thus far,
    And Grace will lead me home

  • Missy April 19, 2019, 1:54 PM

    Lee, Anglican Catholic here (“me too”.) Many decades ago, as a then communicant at the National Cathedral in D.C. (before it separated itself from the “faith once delivered,”) I was on my knees every Good Friday for the three hour stations of the cross service, and marked forever as His by this.

  • Cletus Socrates April 20, 2019, 2:58 PM

    You folks leave me in tears of joy, tears nonetheless, as we move toward the Resurrection.

  • Stargazer April 10, 2020, 6:35 AM

    JESUS SAVES!

  • jd April 10, 2020, 6:42 AM

    Thank you, All, for your witness.
    jd

  • Gordon Scott April 10, 2020, 8:06 AM

    The Lord’s blessing on you all. Among the people I know, it is fashionable to denigrate Christians, and especially Catholics. There is always a smug tone to it. I ask them: When they get sick, do they go to St. Odin’s Hospital? When their child needs surgery, do they go to St. Epona’s? They look confused.

    I point out that every hospital in the Twin Cities, including the ones built recently in the suburbs, has its organizational roots in a Christian church. Even the county-owned facilities, Hennepin and Regions, were created by Christian organizations before being taken over by the county.

    I point out: None of you would dare criticize any of the Muslim temples that have taken over former Christian properties. You won’t, because you are scared to. But show me one hospital, show me one freaking clinic opened by a Muslim group. They cannot, because there are none.

    The Wiccans, the “I’m not religious but I’m spiritual” types? I tell them they had better thank whatever gods are in fashion in their coven this week, because Christians created a society that allows them to run around calling themselves witches. Anywhere else in the world, anywhere outside the West, and that will get you killed, and not in pleasant ways.

    As others are pointing out, the current Pope (or the Bergolian Antipope, if you prefer) spends more time talking about global warming than he does about Jesus. I see that in many neighborhood churches here; they are all about putting rainbows on the signs, proclaiming all are welcome to come in and do whatever, and we won’t bug you about your behavior, or that God stuff. And they wonder why the numbers keep dropping, why young people aren’t replacing the old members who die.

    I am not a Christian. But I fear greatly a world in which Christians worship underground, and secularists rule.

  • ghostsniper April 10, 2020, 8:51 AM

    “You won’t, because you are scared to.”
    =========
    Fear is the basis for all religions.

  • julie April 10, 2020, 9:24 AM

    May the challenges of this Good Friday and of this great Lent the whole world has been sharing (will they or no,) be transformed into the great and joyous blessing of Easter Sunday for you and all your readers, Gerard.

  • Kurt Miller April 10, 2020, 9:44 AM

    Love is the basis of my religion. God loved me to The Cross, through the grave and then all the way into His Everlasting Arms. And there He holds me still, close by His heart…

    “He tends His flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young.” Isaiah 40:11

  • ghostsniper April 10, 2020, 12:38 PM

    Well, it’s sunny so that’s good, but it’s also cold, and that’s bad.

    I just spent 11 days working on a religion book that I won’t mention the title of. For some reason Zondervan thinks we like these things, and they’d be right. They pay well. I had to do 2 different indexes on this one, 1 for the bible verses and the other for all the people quoted in it. In the past 10 years or so I’ve done indexes on about 40 theology books and I seen a pattern among them. Almost all of them have 10 or more authors and they reference many different sources for verification of various aspects of the bible. A few years ago I did one of these collegiate level books and “Acts” was in the title. I don’t remember it now but it was something like “Acts According To Paul”. These 10 or more authors dissected the book of Acts to a microscopic level and filtered it through Paul’s eyes in an effort to create a concrete foundation to build upon for future books to reference. FWIW the KJV bible is only one source that is used from the many that are available. I’ve always found it specious that for such an important document, someone, somewhere decided that some things will not be installed into it and that’s that. IOW, if you only read the KLV you are only getting a sliver slice of the whole cake.

    I always thought to if you used fear to try to convince someone of your argument then your argument must be flawed, after all, if your argument had easily comprehended merit it wouldn’t need fear. Burning in hell for eternity. Srsly?

  • John Venlet April 11, 2020, 5:20 AM

    Srsly?

    Okay, I’ll step in it, Ghostsniper.

    You’re absolutely correct when you note that there are so many books written on theology it can make your head spin, and the writing and publishing of said books is most definitely a profit making endeavor, though not all of them are worth your time or money. There are as many armchair theologians as there are armchair quarterbacks. This fact does not necessarily condemn these writings as not being worth one’s time, rather, I think the quantity of theological writing available, whether through Zondervan or Eerdmans, simply exemplifies that individuals are searching, as they have been for millennium, for the truth about the existence of God, and that the perceived need is being filled. Granted, not necessarily for the best.

    You’re also correct when you note that there are many versions of the Bible. The King James Version, which you mention, is just one of the more renowned versions. While not all versions of the Bible may perfectly match in regards to the books contained within, most versions of the Bible do, though the language within may dispense with thees and thous for something more contemporary. I do not think these minor variations in the language have any bearing on whether or not what is being revealed in the Bible is true or not.

    As to the fear factor you mention, I think this is an aspect many, many individuals misunderstand. The fear you posit as being the motivating factor which compels individuals to believe in God and His Son Jesus Christ is not fear in the sense you write, but awe and reverence for the majesty of God as Creator and Savior of the world. Certainly, the Bible does inform its readers that God will judge them for the wrongs they do, but, the Bible also informs its readers that God sent Jesus Christ, His Son, to bear the judgement for these wrongs for them once and for all. For myself, knowing full well my short comings, I welcome such a message.

    I’ll freely admit being a Christian and claiming faith in God can be challenging. I know in my 60 years I’ve swung back and forth in my faith, but I’ve come to appreciate that this wavering is not a fault. In his book “Mere Christianity,” C.S. Lewis, when discussing some of the more challenging aspects of theology, such as the Trinity, says if this aspect causes you a problem or confuses you, leave it alone. Good advice.

    No man alive can tell us with certainty what will happen when we die. I cannot either, but I do not think, as someone who believes in God, that when I die and find out for certain whether my faith was for naught or not, that God will be asking me questions about this aspect of theology, or that aspect of theol0gy, whether I am Protestant or Catholic, or what have you. I think what God would ask, is, do you accept Jesus Christ, My Son, as your Savior. I pray that I can say I do, in reverence and awe.