Saturday, August 12, 2006


August 6, 2006, Feast of the Transfiguration. Dr. Jonathan Munn (warwickensis), preaching in Dartford, England, delivered a sermon, which he then posted online (at O Cuniculi...). This is one of my favorite feasts, and one of my favorite preaching themes, but Jonathan managed to bring out thoughts a bit different from any I’d previously had. I read the text several times, extracted some key portions of it, and used them to structure this piece . . .


A veil hangs thick between this world
and the world that lies beyond,
a world of brightness everlasting
that the eyes of men are never able to behold,
and of timeless time beyond our understanding,
around a throne that makes infinity look small;
and we before that veil walk on unknowing,
unseeing, unsuspecting in the presence of that Light,
until . . .

until in arms of teenage virgin Mother,
until the waters of the Jordan flow,
until transfiguration on the mount of light
until the dance of darkness on the Cross
until the breaking of the bonds of death
until the taking of the Bread and Cup
that stand transformed upon the Table of the Lord.

until the veil is breached and broken
and a Man is shown as Son of God and shines
and infinity has stormed across the mighty veil,
and breaks into this world of time,
and then . . .

The cloud falls,
the sight of glory is obscured,
obscured and hid from eyes that cannot see
of men that cannot long endure
the fullness of that majesty
without that they be burnt away,
consumed by joy beyond all strength
unless . . .

The cloud falls,
the vision is removed.
misunderstood, half unbelieved,
obscured but not forgotten,
held in memory to the proper day,
held in memory till eternity

We may have seen, but truly do not know
the meaning of the things we see,
and sometimes grope with blindness in the dark,
seeking somehow something we can understand,
but Christians are not fed by explanations,
and what we understand with finite minds
cannot nourish,
cannot feed our hungry souls,
and so we seek for more than explanation,
and so we seek for God,
and finding God is finding love,
and finding love is finding God,
and finding God is gain.

Knowing God comes not from understanding,
but from the wordlessness of meeting, touching, feeling,
holding, being held and hearing words that can’t be said,
and thinking thoughts the mind will never comprehend

And if we truly wish to meet Him,
truly wish to come into that Presence,
and long that we come close to God,
we may . . .

But it is in that cloud we come to know Him,
in that cloud where even thoughts are hid,
and where the only thing that we are knowing
is that we are knowing nothing,
but await the presence of the Lord of Love.

And when He comes upon this altar we may come,
coming, seeking explanations,
thinking that we understand,
and add a layer to that mighty veil,
that bars the way that leads beyond,
for, if we think we understand the mystery,
the heart of mystery never will we find
until . . .

We walk with boldness and yet humbly toward the cloud,
and entering into what seems darkness,
see the Light,
and, unknowing,
--- ed pacht


Albion Land said...

Thank you, Ed. And thank you first to our friend Warwickensis.

Both your works are remeniscent of Merton's "New Seeds of Contemplation," which I never thought I really grasped. Now, I think I did.

God bless.

poetreader said...

Now that's praise I never expected and don't believe I merit, but thank you, very warmly.


Warwickensis said...

Well, I certainly don't merit it, so I've gone as red as a cardinal's cassock.

It helps that I have a friend who can see the Truth in my forest of words and produce beautiful poetry.