Friday, March 13, 2015

For Friday in Lent: “The Passion” by Henry Vaughan

Here is a fine example of Anglican poetry and also a personal reflection on the meaning of Christ’s Passion. Along the way, Vaughan, a seventeenth century Welsh poet, ponders the relationship between Christ’s offering of himself for all people on the Cross and the Holy Communion we each receive…and need. The art of personal devotional poetry or writing is something that we all may practice, drawing the events found in the Scriptures and the Liturgy into our own language.

The Passion

O my chief good!
My dear, dear God!
When thy blest bloud
Did Issue forth forc'd by the Rod,
What pain didst thou
Feel in each blow!
How didst thou weep,
And thy self steep
In thy own precious, saving teares!
What cruell smart
Did teare thy heart!
How didst thou grone it
In the spirit,
O thou, whom my soul Loves, and feares!


Most blessed Vine!
Whose juice so good
I feel as Wine,
But thy faire branches felt as bloud,
How wert thou prest
To be my feast!
In what deep anguish
Didst thou languish,
What springs of Sweat, and bloud did drown thee!
How in one path
Did the full wrath
Of thy great Father
Crowd, and gather,
Doubling thy griefs, when none would own thee!


How did the weight
Of all our sinnes,
And death unite
To wrench, and Rack thy blessed limbes!
How pale, and bloudie
Lookt thy Body!
How bruis'd, and broke
With every stroke!
How meek, and patient was thy spirit!
How didst thou cry,
And grone on high
Father forgive,
And let them live,
I dye to make my foes inherit!


O blessed Lamb!
That took'st my sinne,
That took'st my shame
How shall thy dust thy praises sing!
I would I were
One hearty tear!
One constant spring!
Then would I bring
Thee two small mites, and be at strife
Which should most vie,
My heart, or eye,
Teaching my years
In smiles, and tears
To weep, to sing, thy Death, my Life.

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