Friday, January 15, 2010

Holy Innocents

I spent yesterday evening with my sister-in-law, receiving somber updates about her cousin who flew into Haiti on Tuesday 20 minutes before the earthquake hit. Sobered by the details as he sleeps in cornfields with the orphan girls he went to serve with little food or water and the looming threat of rampant disease as bodies decay, I was in no mood to receive a call from my old KKK friend Russ this morning on my way home from a mass offered for the victims of the tragedy. I should not have answered the phone. While his editorial is not worth repeating, it somehow connected the brokenness of the shattered country to the brokenness of our sinful hearts, the decay of death in the ravaged country to the decay of bitterness in our ravaged spirits. I pray for Haiti. I pray for my cousin-in-law. I pray for Russ.
We seek the living here among the dead,
But may we find you.
Where we discover our decay instead
And cannot find you,
Then be at least the cold that slows disease
And slithers through the shelter of debris.

I heard that Herod made a careful search
And could not find you;
But in the blood of Innocents the Church
Still strains to find you.
Be never as elusive as before
And more tenacious than the shattered floor.

We asked you for a king, but found his fist—
Now may we find you—
For life, but found a Cross behind the mist—
There may we find you.
And to the slave-girl when the dust is clear
Unveil your presence that was always near.


Anne said...

What a gorgeous poem! So touching!

Em the luddite said...

Thanks Anne! I stole the form from J. H. Newman ("Lead, Kindly Light"), but I didn't think he would mind.