Saturday, July 25, 2009

Auspice Maria

I'm going to try to set aside some extra time each Saturday for pondering on Jesus and Mary -- here are some quotes from Death Comes For the Archbishop which I just finished reading, and from Caryll Houselander. I keep running across the idea of "thirst" and what it means.

On a long caravan trip across Texas this man had had some experience of thirst, as the party with which he traveled was several times put on a meagre water ration for days together. But he had not suffered then as he did now. Since morning he had had a feeling of illness; the taste of fever in his mouth, and alarming seizures of vertigo. As these conical hills pressed closer and closer upon him, he began to wonder whether his long wayfaring from the mountains of Auvergne were possibly to end here.

He reminded himself of that cry, wrung from his Saviour on the Cross, "J'ai soif!" Of all our Lord's physical sufferings, only one, "I thirst," rose to His lips. Empowered by long training, the young priest blotted himself out of his own consciousness and meditated upon the anguish of his Lord. The Passion of Jesus became for him the only reality; the need of his own body was but a part of that conception.

Death Comes for the Archbishop, Willa Cather

Christ, who so willingly accepted comfort, sympathy, friendship all through his life, cried out: "I thirst" on the Cross.

He meant all thirst. His body was dried up with the terrible thirst that comes from loss of blood and his soul thirsted for the people he was bleeding for, and his heart thirsted for the compassion of his own people.

But, when a soldier, moved by compassion, gave him myrrh to ease his thirst, he tasted it and turned away.

Mary also refused the myrrh.

--Caryll Houselander

He was able to feel, kneeling beside her, the preciousness of the things of the altar to her who was without possessions; the tapers, the image of the Virgin, the figures of the saints, the Cross that took away indignity from suffering and made pain and poverty a means of fellowship with Christ.....

The beautiful concept of Mary pierced the priest's heart like a sword.

"O Sacred Heart of Mary!" she murmured by his side, and he felt how that name was food and raiment, friend and mother to her. He received the miracle in her heart into his own, saw through her eyes, knew that his poverty was as bleak as hers. When the Kingdom of Heaven had first come into the world, into a cruel world of torture and slaves and masters, He who brought it had said, "And whosoever is least among you, the same shall be first in the Kingdom of Heaven." This church was Sada's house, and he was a servant in it.
Death Comes for the Archbishop

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I would love to hear your thoughts on this!