And the Angels Were Amazed

I meant to post this a while ago but never got around to it.  I attend a Byzantine Catholic liturgy which is held on Saturday evenings at my parish, and the priest, who is a friend of mine, gave  a homily a few days after the feast of the Ascension in which he related to us one of the stichera (a hymn sung at Vespers and Matins in the Byzantine Rite) which talked about how when Christ ascended into heaven, the angels were stunned to see him, because though they had been expecting the return of the Son to heaven, they could not believe that human nature could be raised up to such a state, and (if memory serves) they did not recognize him until he revealed himself to them.  Naturally, I had to write my own version of this rather lovely image, and so here it is.   I’m sure it’s not nearly as good as the real thing, but it will have to do.


                                           And the Angels Were Amazed

                                    And the angels were amazed
                                    When he returned in human clothing,
                                    The true bread went unrecognized:
                                    They only saw a human breathing,
                                    Knocking gently at the gates;
                                    Each spirit eyed the other bewildered,
                                    And made violent, slashing cuts,
                                    With fiery swords with which they guarded
                                    The transubstantial door of paradise.
                                    “No body of flesh may pass through here,”
                                    The angel cried with awful voice
                                    Whose thunder parted the aether,
                                    With eyes ablaze like golden smoke
                                    Reflecting some unearthly storm;
                                    “No one but the Son may speak
                                    And open these gates without his harm.”
                                    The angels gazed down at his face,
                                    His tiny figure still serene,
                                    His word but a whisper less
                                    Than the still small voice had been.
                                    But he commanded the angels rapt,
                                    “These gates be opened, now and forever.”
                                    And then the rusty bolts that kept
                                    The doors in place, they shed the cover
                                    That had once barred the saints,
                                    And entered in a numerous host
                                    Of Adam’s poor descendants,
                                    Glad partakers of his conquest.
                                    The joy that took them as they passed,
                                    No tongue will, or has apprized,
                                    How the Father, Son, and Spirit blessed,
                                    While in awe the angels stood, and were amazed.

 May 24, 2009, Feast of the Ascension

June 16, 2009, Third Tuesday of Ordinary Time, Author’s birthday

~ by Alypius on July 1, 2009.

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