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HYMN 11

 

The devil lives in a dream,
admiring his own magnificence and beauty, until,
suddenly, he is confronted, staring,
face to face with goodness, which
acts as a mirror ­ there he is, appearing
in all his terrible deformity, cast
out of heaven, grieving and despairing,

and that is how he too, who weighs
so heavily upon us, comes to know
a sort of grace, seeing
how things really are, he sees
two things in one, that, even in the depths of his own
bitterness, is manifest
the sweetness of the Lord.

Which is why it was not
in the time of the just that the Lord
appeared ­ they who could
worthily have received Him, rather,
He came when wickedness was spread
all over the earth,
so that in His sweetness would be revealed
the bitterness of everything
that is arrayed against Him.

In Baptism, the sea
opens and offers itself up
in all its immensity; its depths become the property
of the diver plunging in,
supporting and giving him free
access to all its mysteries.

The Rock that has been cut
out of a quarry and hacked
brutally into shape, becomes,
because of all it has suffered,
a wall to defend and keep
man and all his
spiritual wealth secure
against calamity and war.

Even iron, which is so hard,
when it has been tortured
in the fire, it bends
to human strength,
and when it has been
thoroughly beaten, it bestows,
upon its torturers,
great reward.

And gold, too, in all its nobility,
lets itself be beaten
and does not take offence.
It offers up its sides
as a symbol of the Lord.
It is honoured by the injuries
it receives and its sufferings
finish in glory.

As a sharp iron pin
pierces a pearl
so He was pierced
by nails on the cross,
thus, by His suffering
so becoming
mankind's adorning.

And as for the sorrows of a grain
of wheat, who can describe
the pain, the affliction,
the beatings, and all
it undergoes solely to give,
to its tormentors, life?

And the feet of the men who have crushed it
crush also the cluster of grapes; its blood,
beneath their trampling, washes them; they become
fragrant with it, and in time
their hearts are gladdened with the wine.

And the fruit that is torn
to pieces in the mouth yields,
through all its suffering, so much
sweetness, symbol of that Fruit
of the Tree of Life that gives us
life, too,
when Its Body is eaten,

as the architecture
of the honey comb must be
smashed before it can give,
abundantly,
joy to the healthy,
health to the sick.

Now incense, like a martyr,
is thrown on the fire
and its scent is rising
up to our Lord
Who, Himself, died
and spread by His dying
a sweet-smelling Fragrance
all over the world.

When a small bird beats
the air with her wings,
like little fists,
the air will submit
and let her ride
away on his back
like a young bride,

just as a farmer, by means of harsh
metal instruments, tears
open the belly of the earth; but she
is not angered by her misery.
Instead, in her pain, she opens up
all the riches of her treasury.

The sheep who, despite
her modesty, surrenders
her clothes to the shearers,
resembles the Lamb
when those
who crucified Him took
and cast lots for His cloak.

But oh! it is terrible,
this symbol of the lamb,
whose life was gentle
and quiet, but,
by his death he gives us, when
we pillage his loins to obtain
the strings of the violin,
pleasure and great delight.

This teaching is old, so old
there is no telling its age,
and yet it becomes
fragile and small, to enter
into the young and,
like the young it is despised
and insignificant, and all
that they might be made
great.

All these things throughout
the world are symbols and
they teach us and exchange
suffering for suffering, and their sufferings open
glory upon glory,
and the key and explanation
of this suffering and glory are
the sufferings and the glory of the Lord.