Today is a sabbath–a day of rest, so on my sabbatical–which is a sabbath time–I had a day of rest. I don’t know how many naps I took, but whenever I started reading or writing my eyelids got heavy. I was able to write an article for Imaginative Conservative, waste some time on Twitter talking about the Shroud of Turin and write a chapter of my second novel–so not completely idle!
Speaking of the Shroud, I was blessed in 2015 to travel to Turin with my friend Sid Tate to venerate the Shroud. This poem on the resurrection is one of the results of that trip:
I tried to lay aside the arguments
and just view the evidence before me.
Of course the case for authenticity
matters, but direct experience
is where reality and theory meet.
We stood silently in the darkened room:
thirty strangers—all travelers far from home
drawn to an ancient linen winding sheet
singed with the image of a tortured man.
As fragile as the portrait of a ghost
sketched by light it seemed. Suddenly I’m lost.
The bloodstains, the wounds, the face—I’m shaken
by the violent tenderness of the sight.
Full of dread, I’m un-mightied by the shroud.
Like death I kneel; like death, I can’t be proud.
Done, I rise Into the morning, clean and white.
Poetry lovers may note an allusion to John Donne’s sonnet Death Be Not Proud. Donne liked to pun on his name in his poems so you might spot a pun on my name in the last line. This poem is part of a cycle of poems I am writing on the Mysteries of the Holy Rosary.
Holy Saturday is a time of silence, so I was grateful that the friars posted a notice on the bulletin board asking us to observe silence today. We will end our Lenten fast with the Vigil at 9.00. I’m going to join in even though I’m not up to speed with the French. Never mind…I’ve got the whole thing on the cell phone Breviary app.
The friars say there will be a baptism at the vigil and were surprised when I said our parish in South Carolina would be welcoming 15 people to be either baptized or confirmed. Three baptisms and 12 confirmations.
If you are interested in reading more about the Shroud of Turin here is an article I wrote some time ago for The Imaginative Conservative website.
I’d like to take a moment to thank all those who have expressed gratitude for this Jerusalem Diary, and those who have made my sabbatical possible. My wife Alison, who doesn’t mind me taking a furlough from time to time to be a temporary monk–also Fr Richard Ballard who is holding the fort at OLR, the Diocese of Charleston who helps fund these things and all my parishioners who, I know, are holding me in their prayers.