Beatles – Taxman – Instrumental https://t.co/a76O7lcsbD
— 音縁 (@Ennomy) December 12, 2016
“Hallelujah!” they cried, palm branches high,
As the King rode in,
But few of them remained when He in pain
Died for our sins.
The Con Artists
At first they laughed
At their smooth job
And joked how they
Had fooled the mob.
They loved the house
They had acquired;
Their lies had bought
All they desired.
The years wore on,
Food tasted bad,
Sleep came too hard
And they turned mad,
Not mad in ways
The friends could see,
But madness like
Life was off-key.
The words they said
Scared of a knock,
They couldn’t gloat
When thinking back
On their big con;
And when they rose
At early dawn,
Their hearts were bare
With nothing sweet.
CATHERINE OF SIENA
A person who believes that Jesus Christ
Is Lord and Savior of the World is called
A saint through faith, the substance of the things
Hoped for, the evidence of things not seen;
And in the Catholic Church some souls are known
As saints and doctors by the grace of God.
The blessed Catherine of Siena, born
A twin upon Annunciation Day,
The last of thirteen children who survived,
Professed her love for God through holiness
When wars and plagues had shaken faith and hope
In city-states of Tuscany where walls
Protected citizens from outside harm.
Her father’s trade was dyeing wool; his wife,
Madonna Lapa, ruled the family.
This daughter destined to direct the Popes,
Young Caterina Benincasa, taught
Herself to say the Angelus at five,
And knelt upon the steps of stairs at home
To say an Ave Maria, step by step.
When she was six years old, she looked across
Valle Piatta to the abbey church
Of San Domenico; above its roof
She saw the Savior of the World, who sat
In bishop’s robes upon a royal throne,
The treble Papal crown upon His head.
Beside the Lord were Peter, Paul and John,
And Jesus raised His hand and blessed the girl,
Who stood enraptured while the love of God
Abounded in her soul, a cup that gushed.
Her brother called to her; she did not move.
He had to take her arm to make her wake
As though from sleep, transformed forevermore.
She swam beneath the water in the sea
Of love, and vowed when seven she would be
The bride of Christ, and of no other man,
A virgin pure in body and in soul.
In times alone with God she learned to build
An inner cell within her soul which she
Would never leave, despite temptation’s pull
And the entreaties from her family,
Who wanted to arrange a groom for her.
Forced to divulge her vow of chastity,
She told her parents that her will was fixed:
“It would be easier to melt a stone
Than tear this resolution from my heart.
I must obey the Lord before all men;
My Bridegroom is so rich that He will give
Me all I need, if you should throw me out.”
The twelve-year-old prevailed; no more would they
Attempt to wed her to a mortal man,
Although she lived beneath her parents’ roof
Another seven years, her room a cell
Beside the landing, ten by sixteen feet.
O Catherine, if I had one-tenth your zeal,
What miracles could God perform through me,
What battles could He win for souls of men!
The revelation of the Trinity
Was hers through meditation, solitude,
And the denial of her self: three times
A day she scourged her body with a chain
Of iron: once for her own sins, once more
For sins of every living soul, and once
For souls in purgatory, giving Christ,
Her Lord and Savior, blood for blood, ‘til blood
Ran down her shoulders in her sacred cell.
Within her parents’ house where she would sleep
For half an hour on every other day
On planks of wood when she was not in prayer.
The holy teen’s devout desire to join
An order of St. Dominic was quenched
At last when she received the robe and veil,
In white to symbolize her purity,
And the black cape, in black as sign of death
Unto this world and of humility.
Eternal blessedness is knowing God,
God as He is; thus she renounced the world,
That which is vanishing, for unity
With Him who suffered on the cross of love.
She gave belongings to the poor, and cared
For sickest of the sick in darkest hours,
Even when stinking wounds made others leave,
And patients shouted blasphemies at her.
Companions said that when she prayed, she rose
Above the floor so high that one could place
A hand between the woman and the floor;
When she received the Body of the Lord,
She would withdraw in ecstasy, as stiff
And as insensible as Lazarus
Four days inside the cave before the Lord
Commanded him to rise and leave the tomb.
When Catherine’s soul was lifted to commune
With Love Incarnate, she could not perceive
A needle in her foot, and passersby
Who doubted her sincerity would kick
The girl who lay insensate in the street.
At twenty-two she ate no solid food,
And for long times the Eucharist alone
Provided nourishment for her who drank,
In mystic flights, from Jesus’ wounded side.
Christ let her see His secrets, and equipped
Her with the gifts of grace to call her forth,
His weapon in the battle for men’s souls.
One story of a multitude is all
I have the space to tell of how she saved
The souls of men through visions and her prayers.
One winter day two wagons took two men,
Condemned to suffer torture and then death,
Around the town as executioners
Used red-hot tongs to tear and burn their flesh.
The robbers, chained to stakes, reviled the Lord
As townsmen shook and shuddered in alarm;
But Catherine of Siena, who had seen
The wagons pass, retired to beg in prayer
For Christ to save the wretches’ souls, as He
Had saved the robber crucified by Him.
The wagons drove up to a city gate,
The Porta della Giustitia,
And there beneath the arch stood Christ, who wore
A crown of thorns and bled from head to toe.
Caught up in Spirit, Catherine saw the Lord;
The robbers saw Him too, and when He saw
Their eyes and hearts, defiance in them broke.
These highwaymen called for a priest, confessed
Their sins, sang hymns, and met their deaths content.
The very moment that they died redeemed,
The praying virgin woke from ecstasy,
For love of God and mankind for His sake
Was all the mystic knew worth living for.
The exile of the Popes to Avignon
(Franciscans called it Babylonia,
And hung their harps on poplars as they wept)
Disrupted Rome, corrupted faith, and left
Believers rudderless and insecure.
The Roman churches lay in ruins, priests
Had morals of degenerates, and law
Was lost as factions fought and clutched for power.
God sent as punishment the plague, Black Death,
Which killed one-half of Europe’s populace.
In thirteen-fifty St. Birgitta, a seer
From Sweden, heard the call to cleanse the Church.
She went to Rome and urged the Pope to leave
His capital in Avignon, lest he
Should suffer wrath from God– but he refused.
As John the Baptist heralded the work
And ministry of Christ, Birgitta ran
Before the mystic saint who wrought success,
The Pope’s return to Rome from Avignon,
For Catherine told Pope Gregory that he
Had made a vow when Cardinal to move
To Rome if ever he became the Pope,
A vow which he had never told a soul.
At thirty-three, the age her Bridegroom died,
Suffering, paralyzed below the waist,
As she lay on her bed of wooden boards,
The purest dove accused herself of sins,
And cried aloud, “My honor! Never! Praise
And honor to Christ crucified alone!”
In April thirteen-eighty Catherine gave
Her spirit to the Father’s hands.
In spring a million buds appear on trees;
In winter snowflakes fall from clouds, each one
Unique in pattern, each a gift to earth,
And as each bud and snowflake offers gifts
That come from it alone, so every child
Who’s born again of God, among the millions, bears
And offers special gifts, the gifts of grace
And mercy to the Lord and humankind.
This daughter of a wealthy family
Used special gifts to lead and move the Popes
And men of lower rank to follow God.
Greater than special gifts that Catherine had
Through her ascetic life and ministry
Was intimacy she possessed with Christ;
She loved the Lord with heart and soul and strength,
And fixed her eyes on Jesus’ wounds; she knew
None are redeemed without the blood of Christ.
She served her Bridegroom, clove right by His side,
Surrendered self with zeal, and gave up pride
As she renounced the world to be His bride.
As soon as all the kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan to the west, and all the kings of the Canaanites who were by the sea, heard that the LORD had dried up the waters of the Jordan for the people of Israel until they had crossed over, their hearts melted and there was no longer any spirit in them because of the people of Israel.
Like cold water to a thirsty soul,
so is good news from a far country.
But now Timothy has come to us from you and brought us good news about your faith and love, and that you always have good memories of us, wanting to see us, as we also want to see you.
–1 Thessalonians 3:6
EXODUS CHAPTER THIRTY-TWO
1 After the people saw that Moses had
Been on the mountain for a long time, they
Went up to Aaron and they said, “Make us
An image of a god who will lead us
And shelter us, for Moses brought us out
Of Egypt, but nobody knows what’s occurred
To him,” 2 and Aaron told them, “Bring to me
Gold earrings that your wives and sons and daughters
Are wearing.” 3 Everybody took their earrings
Off and brought them to Aaron, 4 then he melted
Them and he made an idol in the shape
Of a young calf, and all the people said
To one another, “Now this is the god
Who brought us out of Egypt!” 5 Aaron
Saw what was happening, so he did build
An altar in front of the idol and
He said, “Tomorrow we will celebrate
In honor of the LORD.” 6 The people got
Up early the next morning and they killed
Some animals they’d use for sacrifices
And others to be eaten. Everyone
Then ate and drank so much that they began
To carry on like savages. 7 The LORD
Told Moses: “Hurry down! Those people whom
You led from Egypt are behaving like
Young fools. 8 They have already stopped obeying
Me and have made themselves an idol in
The shape of a young calf. They have bowed down
To it and offered sacrifices, and
They said that it’s the god who brought them out
Of Egypt. 9 Moses, I have seen how stubborn
These people are, 10 and I am mad enough
To wipe them out, so don’t try to stop me,
But your descendants I will make into
A mighty nation.” 11 Moses tried to get
The LORD to change his mind: “Our LORD, you used
Your strength to bring these people out of
Now don’t get angry and destroy them. 12 If
You do that, the Egyptians will say that
You brought your people out here to the mountains
Just to get rid of them. Please don’t be angry
With your own people. Do not wipe them out.
13 Recall the solemn promise that you made
Abraham, Isaac, and to Jacob. You
Have promised that someday they would have as
Many descendants as there are the stars
In heaven and that you would give them land.”
14 So even though the LORD had threatened to
Destroy the people, he did change his mind
And let them live, 15 so Moses went back down
The mountain with the two flat stones on which
The LORD had written all his laws with his
Own hand, and had used both sides of the stones.
16 The tablets were the work of God; the writing
Was God’s own writing and it was engraved
Upon the tablets. 17 Joshua heard the shouts
Of people and told Moses, “In the camp
They’re battling.”18 Moses said, “It doesn’t sound
Like shouting for a battle win or loss.
They’re singing wildly.” 19 Then as Moses got
Closer to camp, he saw the idol, and
He also saw the people dancing ’round.
This angered him so much that he threw down
The stones and broke them into pieces at
The mountain base. 20 He melted down the idol
The people had created, and he ground
It into powder, scattered it within
Their water, and he made them drink it. 21 Moses
Asked Aaron, “How did these people harm you?
Why did you make them sin this awful way?”
22 Aaron said: “Don’t be angry with me. You
Know as well as I do that they’re determined
To do some evil, for they even told
Me, ‘That man Moses led us out of Egypt,
But we don’t know what’s happened to him. 23 Make
For us a god to lead us.’ 24 I asked them
To bring me their gold earrings. They took them
Off and gave them to me. I threw the gold
Into a fire, and out came this calf.” 25 Moses
Knew that the people were running wild
And it was Aaron’s fault; and now they’d made
Fools of themselves before their enemies,
26 So Moses stood beside the camp gate and
He shouted, “Everybody who is on
God’s side come over here!” And then the men
From Levi’s tribe surrounded Moses, 27 and
He told them, “The LORD God of Israel
Commands you to strap on your swords and go
Through camp, and kill your relatives, your friends,
And all your neighbors.” 28 Men of Levi’s tribe
Followed his orders, and that day they killed
About three thousand men, 29 and Moses said
To them, “You have obeyed the LORD and done
The right thing, so you will serve as his priests
For Israelites, as it was hard for you
To kill your sons and brothers, but the LORD
Has blessed you and made you his priests today.”
30 The next day Moses told the people, “This
Thing you have done is terrible. But I
Will go back to the LORD to see what I
Can do to keep this sin from being held
Against you.” 31 Moses went back to the LORD and said,
“The people have committed awful sin.
They have created a gold idol to
Be their god, 32 but I beg you to forgive
Them; if you don’t, please wipe my name out of
Your book.” 33 The LORD replied, “I will wipe from
My book the name of everyone who’s sinned
Against me, 34 so now take my people to
The place of which I told you, and my angel
Will lead you, but when the time comes, I’ll punish
Them for this sin,” 35 So God did punish the people
Of Israel with a dire plague for talking
Aaron into creating the gold calf.