Friday, August 3, 2012

Poetry: Stone and Blood

So I've been watching Fr. Robert Barron's Catholicism series.  After the first five episodes I can offer this mini-review: it rocks!

And speaking of rocks, episode five is about St. Peter and St. Paul, and it inspired me to write a poem:

Stone and Blood

He builds His Church on stone and blood,
Upon these bloody stones
That scrape the flesh of that same Vine
Whose precious sap atones
For thrice denial of Himself
And Stephen’s death approved.
Denial turned to feeding lambs;
Baptism scales removed.

He raises up the stubborn rock
As He Himself was raised,
And through that citizen of Rome
His Name is ever praised
By those outside the covenant
He shares with Abraham.
That sword stayed on Damascus’ road;
The shepherd was a lamb.

He ceases not to build His Church
With red stones piled high.
Rocks sometimes poorly bear the weight,
And blood gets in the eye,
But Hell cannot contend with that
One Church He built for all,
And humbly we must take a cross
Like Peter did, and Paul.

I guess the point I took from the episode was that the 'blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.'  While there are many persecutions of Christians happening in the world at this moment, I am not in any real danger of death, not even remotely.  But I know that there are many ways to give one's life for Christ that involve a different kind of dying, the daily struggle of dying to self.  I wonder if I have had much success with that struggle.  I feel as if I really need to be successful, since that seems to be the type of 'martyrdom' to which I am being called in my life.  But am I really carrying my cross, even a little bit, or is Christ carrying the whole thing for me?

Legend says that St. Peter was escaping Rome when he saw Christ walking on the road into the city. He asked the Lord where he was going, and Christ said, "To Rome, to be crucified again."  St. Peter understood that he needed to literally take up his cross at that moment.  When I look at the world, I wonder if I and other Christians living in comfort and safety are fleeing from the little Romes in which we are supposed to be crucified every day, or if we really are taking up our crosses and following Christ.

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