Oblate Program at Belmont Abbey, NC

Tuesday of Holy Week

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There is an inner coldness,
A deep emptiness that comes upon me this time of the year,
Perhaps it is the radiating darkness
From the occupied tomb of Holy Saturday,
An ending known,
The ending of us all
A tomb waiting after our own passion,
Ending in the bleakness of death.

Beyond that day of burial
When the stone is rolled before,
A lifeless prison,
Symbol of death’s hold on mankind
Is something I can’t move beyond
During this Week of the Holy.

Betrayal, suffering, alone-ness,
Blocking at times any joy or light,
Is not this Holy Saturday
And all that led up to it?
Gut wrenching pain,
Heart freezing evil,
Is mankind’s daily bread
The milk we suck on
All infected by its poison.

Innocence destroyed day by day,
Our children abused,
Killed,
Women beaten,
Raped,
Wars unending
Young men and women killing and being killed,
The Thanatos principle in full bloom
Its power seeming absolute,
So yes during Holy Week this looms
Rising up freezing my heart
Forcing me to focus what is before
Forgetting what comes after,
For darkness, pain, suffering, angst
Can for a time block out all else.

Amidst it all is something deeper,
Perhaps even at times more terrifying
confronts me;
The love stronger than death,
Willing to go though anything
Suffer any pain,
Rejection
For the sake of the beloved,
Yes that can be the most terrifying.

For my heart is little,
Cold,
Often stone like it its response
To the divine,
Yet it seeks us all,
Woos,
And in the end seduces to the truth
Of what I often forget
For I can’t see beyond Holy Saturday.

So my response is an inner cold
Like a dark well
Rising higher and higher
Yet I never drown or sink below it surface,
For mercy sustains me
It’s root,
Love.

Br. Mark Dohle, OCSO
Holy Spirit Monastery

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