Saturday, July 7, 2012

Calvary shines through the night...

I have always admired the wonderful set of statues which form Calvary on the hill outside the Chapel here at Saint John's Seminary. Thanks to Bobby Manley and his great team of electricians (who are updating the lighting in the Chapel with Rohn Design) the lights which shine on the Crucifixtion scene at night are working once again. What a great place to pray Night Prayer!

It brings to mind the hymn which we use for the adoration of the Cross on Good Friday, the Crux Fidelis (Faithful Cross). We’ve been singing it since Venantius Fortunatus wrote it in the sixth century.

And thanks to father Derek Borek for this great photo!

Faithful Cross the Saints rely on, Noble tree beyond compare! Never was there such a scion, Never leaf or flower so rare. Sweet the timber, sweet the iron, Sweet the burden that they bear!

1. Sing, my tongue, in exultation Of our banner and device! Make a solemn proclamation Of a triumph and its price: How the Savior of creation Conquered by his sacrifice!

2. For, when Adam first offended, Eating that forbidden fruit, Not all hopes of glory ended With the serpent at the root: Broken nature would be mended By a second tree and shoot.

3. Thus the tempter was outwitted By a wisdom deeper still: Remedy and ailment fitted, Means to cure and means to kill; That the world might be acquitted, Christ would do his Father’s will.

4. So the Father, out of pity For our self-inflicted doom, Sent him from the heavenly city When the holy time had come: He, the Son and the Almighty, Took our flesh in Mary’s womb. 

5. Hear a tiny baby crying, Founder of the seas and strands; See his virgin Mother tying Cloth around his feet and hands; Find him in a manger lying Tightly wrapped in swaddling-bands!

6. So he came, the long-expected, Not in glory, not to reign; Only born to be rejected, Choosing hunger, toil and pain, Till the scaffold was erected And the Paschal Lamb was slain.

7. No disgrace was too abhorrent: Nailed and mocked and parched he died; Blood and water, double warrant, Issue from his wounded side, Washing in a mighty torrent Earth and stars and oceantide.

8. Lofty timber, smooth your roughness, Flex your boughs for blossoming;Let your fibers lose their toughness, Gently let your tendrils cling; Lay aside your native gruffness, Clasp the body of your King! 

9. Noblest tree of all created, Richly jeweled and embossed: Post by Lamb’s blood consecrated; Spar that saves the tempest-tossed; Scaffold-beam which, elevated, Carries what the world has cost!

10. Wisdom, power, and adoration To the blessed Trinity For redemption and salvation Through the Paschal Mystery, Now, in every generation, And for all eternity. Amen.