Advent I: Three Meditations

Written October 2016, Revisited December 2018

The Chancel Tapestry 

You gaze out from your textile window,
serene.

You—crowned in red and yellow flora
that radiates from your halo
in interlacing patterns—
Your mystic smile
undisturbed by the fluttering dove
at your chest.

Mary, mother of God,
were you always so
serene?

Is this how you felt—
the day the angel arrived
in all its ghastly ethereal glory
to announce God’s Favor?

Or when the prophet met you on the temple steps
And blessed you,
And said a sword would pierce you too?

Behold, you said,
I am the servant of the Lord.
May it be to me as you have said.

Mary, mother of God,
I confess I am
afraid.

If I invite Christ into my body,
What will he require?

The Eucharist

My heart—
frightfully young and therefore
fearful of Favor—
must be led along by the body
a responsible parent,
dragging the squeamish child by the hand,
patiently modeling the proper posture:

First, the sinking—
knees kiss the carpet
arms rest on the wooden railing.
Just so.

Second, the waiting—
hands cupped, extended
eyes closed, expectant.
Shh, heart,
there is nothing
to do.

Third, the swallowing—
Something torn is placed in the hands:
Something bitter stings the tongue.
While my heart loudly protests:
God’s Favor
doesn’t taste good.

The Icon

I bought an icon
the size of a postcard
egg tempera on wood.
Christ stands there
robed in blue and red,
against a golden curtain,
and on his shoulders,
a lamb,
serene.

Is this God’s Favor also?
That when he exacts my yes—
enters my belly
and pierces my heart—
that he will carry me
on his shoulders?
And I will be safe there
in the Lord’s Favor?

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