“Twilight And Shadow”, Howard Shore, from “Lord Of The Rings”
… ‘T was on a May-day of the far old year Seventeen hundred eighty, that there fell Over the bloom and sweet life of the Spring, Over the fresh earth and the heaven of noon, A horror of great darkness, like the night In day of which the Norland sagas tell,–
The Twilight of the Gods. The low-hung sky Was black with ominous clouds, save where its rim Was fringed with a dull glow, like that which climbs The crater’s sides from the red hell below.
Birds ceased to sing, and all the barn-yard fowls Roosted; the cattle at the pasture bars Lowed, and looked homeward; bats on leathern wings Flitted abroad; the sounds of labor died;
Men prayed, and women wept; all ears grew sharp To hear the doom-blast of the trumpet shatter The black sky, that the dreadful face of Christ Might look from the rent clouds, not as he looked A loving guest at Bethany, but stern As Justice and inexorable Law.
Meanwhile in the old State House, dim as ghosts, Sat the lawgivers of Connecticut, Trembling beneath their legislative robes. ‘It is the Lord’s Great Day! Let us adjourn,’ Some said; and then, as if with one accord, All eyes were turned to Abraham Davenport. He rose, slow cleaving with his steady voice The intolerable hush.
‘This well may be The Day of Judgment which the world awaits; But be it so or not, I only know My present duty, and my Lord’s command To occupy till He come. So at the post Where He hath set me in His providence, I choose, for one, to meet Him face to face,– No faithless servant frightened from my task, But ready when the Lord of the harvest calls; And therefore, with all reverence, I would say, Let God do His work, we will see to ours.
Bring in the candles.’ And they brought them in. …
from the poem “Abraham Davenport” – by John Greenleaf Whittier
Once upon a time a Man existed, of a sort to do the right regardless of the cost, who understood the hierarchy of evil and of good and the destiny to which we all are tending, lost, regardless of our facile words, and opinions, and dissimulation, and pretense.
Once upon a time we knowingly fought the long defeat in stoic patience waiting for the return of the King.
Now all is clowns and jokers, left and right, and none conceive of something greater than themselves.
empty oneself of every trace of belief in one’s “goodness”
“Hotaru” by Kobudo, from the album “Ototabi”, (2013)
The Death of Jesus
see also: (Psalm 22:1-31; Matthew 27:45-56; Mark 15:33-41; John 19:28-30) 44And it was almost the sixth hour; and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. 45And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. 46And Jesus crying out with a loud voice, said: Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit. And saying this, he gave up the ghost.
47Now the centurion, seeing what was done, glorified God, saying: Indeed this was a just man. 48And all the multitude of them that were come together to that sight, and saw the things that were done, returned striking their breasts. 49And all his acquaintances, and the women that had followed him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things. Luke 23: 44-49
In “The Better Part” page 778, Fr. John Bartunek writes: “At the very moment of His apparent defeat our King begins to enjoy the abundant spoils of His eternal victory — the allegiance of loving hearts. The centurion, who had overseen Christ’s whole condemnation, torture, mockery and expiation, opens his heart with an act of faith; he becomes a soldier of Christ.
The bystanders, who minutes before had been laughing and berating, repent as they stumble home. His friends and followers stand gazing at their Lord, unable to turn away from this horrendous scene, which has become beautiful to them and has changed their hearts forever.
Joseph of Arimathaea, a member of the Sanhedrin, risks his own reputation as he publicly defies the enemies of Christ and pays homage to his crucified Lord.
The women of Galilee show their fierce and constant fidelity, obeying the Law while they also obey the law of love by preparing spices to anoint their beloved Jesus.
As much as the powers of darkness tried to shatter once and for all the Kingdom of Christ, his followers continue to serve him, like iron filings that keep converging on a magnet. Love — Christ’s love — is stronger than death.
Christ teaches us how to die. “Now the centurion, seeing what was done, glorified God, saying: Indeed this was a just man.” Death will come for each of us. It is one of the few things the future holds that we can be absolutely sure of.
And yet we spend precious little time considering it and preparing for it. Christians are not meant to be obsessed with death, but neither should they join the swelling ranks of those who frantically distract themselves from this simple truth.
What is worth defending? What is worth living for? What is worth dying for? In a nutshell? People … the folks … because they are intrinsically valuable and worthwhile as individuals and as a group. and, for the most part, utterly defenseless. They are so defenseless that they don’t even know that they are defenseless. They are, in this aspect, like sheep.
Make no mistake about it … there is evil out there … there are wolves out there who will feed on the flock without mercy! Eight years in the Military and ten years in the Corrections Service teaches one the reality of evil people.
But evil is nothing more than the “absence of good”, and therein lies a whole world of hurt. We struggle daily to discipline and control all the little “orcs’s” of our souls, to actively choose “the better part”.
In any manifestation of evil the underlying or sometimes overt aspect of evil, the “dead” giveaway, is how the actors value and treat ordinary people, the very people whom Christ died to save . In each and every instance without exception the manner in which any person, organization or ideology treats ordinary people is the hallmark of which side they fall on. And no matter what the mental and rhetorical gymnastics the perpetrators go through there are ONLY two sides. You are either on the side of our Lord, and the Angels, or on the side of the Demons.
There is no middle ground. Even refusing to choose, denying that there is a choice is merely to choose self indulgence and everything that that implies. There are no votes of “Present”, no option to “Abstain”, in real life. There are only two forces in the universe who have died for you – Jesus Christ, and the soldiers, airmen, sailors, police and peace officers and all the rest of the pointy end sheepdogs who put it all on the line for the sheep every time they go to work.
Jesus Christ died for your soul, the rest died to make it possible for you to accept Christ’s offer in freedom, peace and safety. Mission impossible? Maybe … 7 And will not God revenge his elect who cry to him day and night: and will he have patience in their regard? 8 I say to you, that he will quickly revenge them. But yet the Son of man, when he cometh, shall he find, think you, faith on earth? Luke 18: 7-8
Certainty of death. Small chance of success. What are we waiting for?Gimli, son of Gloin, LOTR, (2003)
empty oneself of every trace of belief in one’s “goodness”
23 That same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question.24 “Teacher,” they said, “Moses told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for him.25 Now there were seven brothers among us. The first one married and died, and since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother.26 The same thing happened to the second and third brother, right on down to the seventh.27 Finally, the woman died.28 Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?”
29 Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.30 At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.31 But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you,32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’[a]? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”
33 When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching. (Matthew 22:23-33)
“More enemies draw near, and another battle ensues. This time the attackers are representatives of the wealthy political leaders, who had different religious views than the Pharisees, but once again Jesus prevails. His enemies still refuse to be converted. And the listening crowd is filled with awe.
That same crowd had long submitted to the harsh and demanding rule of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. Both groups of leaders were far superior to the vast majority of the working population in knowledge, influence, education, and wealth. And they made their superiority felt.
In Christ these searching souls find something entirely different. He neither fears the leader’s power nor bows to their prowess. He confronts them, argues with them, and repeatedly sends them away confounded.
And all the while he generously heals and teaches the ordinary people, so despised by the others. Jesus is right down there among them. They sense in Christ something much greater than any earthly leader, and they also perceive him as someone much closer to them, interested in them, and capable of helping them.
This is how the Lord behaved; this is how his Church continues to behave; this is how his disciples ought to behave.
Instead of calling the Sadducees “hypocrites” as he did with the Pharisees, Jesus simply tells them, “you are wrong”. The Pharisees erred in their willful denial of Christ’s claims, a denial that sprang from malice, from envy and jealousy; the Sadducees err merely in ignorance. They truly think this Nazarene rabbi is just a popularizer of mistaken doctrine, and they try to set him straight. So Jesus Instructs them.
(“The Better Part”, John Bartunek, LG, ThD, pp. 260-261)
” far superior to the vast majority of the working population in knowledge, influence, education, and wealth. And they made their superiority felt.”
2000 years on and nothing has changed, the elites STILL see Christ as a mortal threat and conduct a steady unrelenting campaign of discrimination and persecution by attacking his followers anywhere they are found. In many parts of the world they even routinely resort to killing his followers and persecuting any earthly presence of his mystical body, the Church.
To what end? Have they no memory or understanding of the past or the future? 70 generations of Sadducees and Pharisees have come and gone and they have learned absolutely nothing.
Always remember to be charitable in your treatment of others and never take yourself too seriously.