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HYMN 5

 

Again, by oil, a lamp,
fixed high in the house,
shines everywhere. So Christ,
the true Light, shone,
high on the Cross.
Everything is shown
under the light
in its proper place,
just as, in Christ,
everything is explained
clearly, and just as
everything would be useless
without light, without Christ,
life would have no end,
no purpose. The light
is needed that all
visible, external things
be seen, as He
Who is represented by oil
enlightens
everything unseen,
everything within.

Glory to Christ Who came
and to the symbols who ran out to greet Him.

 

The oil is the power
of the lamp in its war
with the forces of night,
and so the prophets
too, warring with darkness,
were able to gain
power from the Holy Spirit.
Oil maintains
the struggle of the lamp until it
fades away in the strength
of the sun, and so
the prophets were sustained
by the Holy Spirit til the Sun
sent his twelve rays forth to drench
the world in light.

Glory to Christ Who came
and to the symbols who ran out to greet Him.

 

And in the tabernacle, established
in time, oil provoked
seven flames in the seven-branched
candlestick, which evoke
the seven spirits coming down
through seven prophets on the Branch
of the rod of Jesse. As God's house
was lit by the light brought forth
by seven candles, even so,
Mary gave birth to the Light that lit
the seven holy planets that
illuminate the Universe.

Glory to Christ Who came
and to the symbols who ran out to greet Him.

 

Oil passes, like Christ,
on top of water, and it
supports flame on the water
as Christ supported Peter.
The flame that gutters,
that flickers out in the water, is restored
by oil, as Peter, when his faith faltered,
was held up by the Lord
and, as oil by flame gives light
to the house, so Christ,
by Peter, made bright
the whole of the world.

Glory to Christ Who came
and to the symbols who ran out to greet Him.

 

Oil is a labourer, and toils
in the lamp, and extends
all the effulgence of its
light, spreading like a great
tree. When the Sun has set,
the eye is hungry, and it finds
in the lamp a presence
of light, when
the source of the light has gone.

Glory to Christ Who came
and to the symbols who ran out to greet Him.

 

So the lamp vindicates
the eye, robbed by the dark
in November, when
the darkness overwhelms
the light and all our
diligence is made redundant.
The day too is short
for the work in hand.
But the lamp restores
to our diligence the hours
that the night has snatched away,
and our longing finds work
all the night long until
the short day comes again.
So the oppressor is judged
and all that was stolen
by darkness becomes
the property of light.

Glory to Christ Who came
and to the symbols who ran out to greet Him.

 

Such diligence resembles
a balance that weighs
both the night and the day,
and each of them trembles
to a halt at a point
equal to the other,
for the shortness
of the day was grievous
to the diligent, having
to leave his work unfinished,
while cowards and weaklings
rejoice when struggling
comes to an end.
But when the light
is present, our earnestness
continues
into the night,
and night and day
both, equally, ascend,
and no-one is constrained
to idleness,
nor can the feeble rejoice
that everything is lost.

Glory to Christ Who came
and to the symbols who ran out to greet Him.

 

Darkness serves
as food to the light
which swallows it, thus announcing
Christ, Who,
by His life,
took death into Himself.
And again, a lamp is used to find,
hither and thither about the house,
things lost in darkness,
and He, too,
came searching through the world
souls that were lost.
The woman found the coin.
The image on the coin, the true
Adam, the hidden
Image of God, was found by Christ.

Glory to Christ Who came
and to the symbols who ran out to greet Him.

 

The lamp may serve as a symbol of John,
whose time was short and came to an end
and, as the eye is not made one
with the lamp, so John was not
the Bridegroom of the Church.
John and the lamp are friends
to the two bridegrooms, and the two
brides love them, because
both of them stand as icons of
the One, the Only-begotten.
The Church found her one true Love
prefigured in John.
The eye finds in the lamp
an image of the Sun.

Glory to Christ Who came
and to the symbols who ran out to greet Him.

 

It is the quality of the oil that makes
the quality of the flame.
And Christ as oil nourishes the light
of the virgins who are His brides.
These lamps find in the visible lamps
their type, since, where the supply
of oil is small, so is the light.
We do not know when the bridegroom
will arrive, so you, our holy sisters,
watch for us, singing, and keeping
the lamps in the church alight.

Glory to Christ Who came
and to the symbols who ran out to greet Him.

 

Oil is soothing, served with food,
and the Lord, too, soothes
those who eat
His Body, drinking His Blood.
The Anointed went to the House of the Dead
to bring back the sick, comforting the bereaved,
as a lamp that wavers is revived
by oil, and a light that has died
returns, stronger,
for the mercy of God
is swifter than His anger.

Glory to Christ Who came
and to the symbols who ran out to greet Him.

 

Our body flourishes, and then
it splutters out like a lamp, and Christ,
Who reveals, fully, the symbols
of God, is like oil, and again,
a lamp is like the world, and each resembles
Hezekiah. Let me tell you how.
For oil awakens a lamp, as the Sun
awakens Hezekiah, and the Anointed One,
in a flood of mercy, wakens all the world.

Glory to Christ Who came
and to the symbols who ran out to greet Him.

 

Oil sharpens the edge of the sword.
The mind is sharpened by Christ.
Before the sword, the murderer
is filled with fear,
and doubts flee before His Word.
Oil keeps the sword from rust,
that comes from too much contact with
earthly things, with dirt, with dust,
and Christ, dwelling in the intellect,
keeps it from all negligence,
all the corruption, all the lust
that feed on indolence.

Glory to Christ Who came
and to the symbols who ran out to greet Him.

 

So it is like God Himself,
Lover of Virginity.
Virginity who lives with angels,
daughter to the House of Michael,
friend to the House of Gabriel;
and it is the consolation
of women without children,
of Sarah and of Rachel;
and it gives strength
to women in childbirth,
to Leah, and Bilhah, for
marriage is pure,
with children like young, delectable
olive trees, standing round the table.

Glory to Christ Who came
and to the symbols who ran out to greet Him.

 

Through Sarah, Rachel, Leah, Bilhah,
married women, barren women, oil
ran through the life of Jacob, full
of mysterious meanings, which the Lord
made plain when He, instead
of the Stone of Vision Jacob raised
and anointed with oil in the desert, wed
the soul direct to God.

Glory to Christ Who came
and to the symbols who ran out to greet Him.

 

Oil is the key to the house
where the symbols are stored,
expounding all the likenesses
of God made man. The World
offered to Him the symbols it contained.
The Scriptures gave their types. The Law
the shadows cast by grace. And so
the olive tree, too, stripped off
and offered to the Christ
the beauty of the multitude
of the symbols it possessed.

Glory to Christ Who came
and to the symbols who ran out to greet Him.