Liselund Castle by Ilsted

We can only see in a mirror, darkly, it is written

In the Book of the Lord, master of our interior reality;

Like the statue of Mary in a niche by a wedding table

Throwing a shadow on the visible side of living,

A shadow of mercy, of grief, and of glad revelations

Eclipsing our own visage facing its source in a mirror,

In her shadow, where we see the other half of ourselves

We appear as the resurrected body of His Bride,

Dead to the light of this earth and dead to the demands

Of our earthly, creaturely bodies, we see the unseen:

Our fullest self-expression is the mere remnant

Her endless grief keeps vigil over, her heartbrokenness

Not so much over our transgressions

As over our accusations of each other,

Our lack of faith in the mercy of her shadow,

The unseen grace of our own resurrection

That collects what sin plucked asunder

And rebuilds it whole again and again and again

So our faces may shine uncovered

Yet unseen in their wholeness.

The Kingdom is not invisible

To those used to seeing partially

And feeling wholly, for fulfillment

Is only in the word, the one word

That dwells in our hearts and writes

Our destinies, the code of our salvation.

We see the truth in pieces

It is revealed to us in all its glory

But never in its completion,

For how can something that IS

Not be, not yet, nor to come?

Two earths: the damned and the revealed

The veil of the penitent, grieving Veronica

Holds the visage of the damned,

The suffering Christ, His passion,

And his punishment for loving mere creatures,

Us animals lacking reason and concept of tomorrow,

Of yesterday, of this base earth our dwelling.

The other earth is the Immortal Bride,

Humanity recreated after its renunciation

Of its own created nature, repentant,

Doubled over in its infinite grief

Over a loss so sweet, its love feeds on its passing.

Vampiric, we drink the blood of being

That makes her cry again and throw her shadow

Over our darkness, over our sight and eyes

Wide shut to their own reality.

The object of His passion, not revealed,

Whole to us, but only in pieces,

The funereal pieces of the vanitas, votive objects

Elevated to the light of her shadow.

Only by mourning our sins, our follies and failures

We gain sight, we gain fullness, we gain vision

To see Mary’s other side, the one not in the shadow,

The one we only know through renunciation,

The one placed under the relentless burden of the Cross.

Some gurus say God is invisible, beyond our senses,

But if that were so, why do we have the Veronica?

If God intended us to live in some unreachable bliss,

Some invisible, untouchable void of materiality,

Would He have bothered with creation, promised us the earth,

Would he have come to Mary and punished His Only Son

For his great earthly passion, His love of mortals?

Why is His Son’s Immortal Bride, the Church, revealed

To earthly eyes? Why was earth promised the creatures

Whose sins and funereal remains deliver His Bride?

Our knowledge is dark, but the light we carry within

Illuminates the holy shadow

Of Mary’s eternally feminine presence.

True light is unseen, but not invisible, unseen but not hidden,

Once seen, and then forgotten, only to come back resurrected,

In another body, another flesh, redeemed, imperishable, glorious.

Such is the earthly nature of the magnificent Bride.

We see in a mirror, darkly, partially, but the image within is whole.

Mary gave us this gift, knowing the fruit of her womb would die

And be resurrected, so we may inherit the earth after death.

Many came after the Resurrection and denied her truth,

Tried to blot out her legacy, her eternal claim He is the Son,

But failed, turning into brazen weapons, snakes on altars of sin

Hurled into the fires of immortal hell by their own violence

While every child that seeks her shadow and stumbles darkly

In the niche of her revealed presence and eats its supper

With the tears of its precious renunciation and repentance

Lives on in the very remains of an existence denied and resurrected.

All earthly delights and the precious face of the Immortal Bride,

The Church in all her splendour sitting at her wedding table

Are gifts given freely in votive obedience to her testament,

So we may see in her shadow, darkly,

The light of the Seven Sisters,

The Seven Bridesmaids, the Sacraments of our Host Body,

Holy Church, our one flesh, blood, and eyes,

a vision of pure light in Mary’s shadow,

Which grants us mercy to see her gentleness lighting

The path to our hearts, painting the features

Of our uncovered, glad faces with a masterly stroke.

Our knowledge is dark, but our faces glow

In the pure light of Mary’s love

Pouring the merciful rain of her salty tears

Over our wounds, sins, trials, and iniquities

Breathing life back into our dead bodies,

Dead by sin and the world and restoring us

To the Eternal Bride, the Church, her fair daughter.


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