How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of Him who brings good tidings, who publishes peace, who brings good tidings of good, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, "Your God reigns."
Hark, your watchmen lift up their voice, together they sing for joy; for eye to eye they see the return of the Lord to Zion.
Break forth together into singing, you waste places of Jerusalem; for the Lord has comforted His people, He has redeemed Jerusalem.
The Lord has bared His holy arm before the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.[✝]
[☨]Adorned in the vestments clean of the sin of blood that had been stained upon him, the Archbishop stands before the podium to decree the Word of the Old Testament as he addressed and spoke aloud and fluidly to the attendees of this Holy day's Mass.[☨]
I chose this scripture as befitting to our qualm. A qualm and dire situation I believe shall be rectified with faith that our Lord, born upon this day as God's greatest gift, that as he delivers us from evil and sin, he shall deliver us from the darkness of this land.
And so, the Word reads...
But there will be no gloom for her that was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined.
Thou hast multiplied the nation, thou hast increased its joy; they rejoice before Thee as with joy at the harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. For the yoke of His burden, and the staff for His shoulder, the rod of His oppressor, thou hast broken as on the day of Midian. For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire.
For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder, and His name will be called "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
[☨]Maxwell looked out upon the pews, a smile, quiet and patient as a viper's dancing across his mouth, yet a sense of beguiling pureness within his deep aqua gaze.[☨]
He is our hope, our Light to salvation. I say this not just as a man of the cloth, but as a man too, who grasps at his Lord's robes and asks for soothing of his anxieties. Anxieties I know we all share in these strange times. Times we may hardly fathom. Yet it is not He who brought this upon us, but perhaps allowed it to be, for His Way tests our conviction and our love, and in the end strengthens us for the narrow path to Paradise. Even now if you listen, he is speaking to us and showing us the way to our exodus.
[☨]There, he drew his delicate pallid fingertips across the gold-leafed pages of the great bible he held before him and continued unto the Epistle.[☨]
In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by a Son, whom He appointed the heir of all things, through whom also He created the world. He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of His nature, upholding the universe by His word of power.
When He had made purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name He has obtained is more excellent than theirs.
For to what angel did God ever say,
"Thou art my Son, today I have begotten thee"? Or again, "I will be to Him a father, and He shall be to me a son"? And again, when He brings the first-born into the world, he says, "Let all God's angels worship Him."
While angels we may not be, we would do well to reflect their heavenly praise. Even now, they look upon us in this wayward world and praise us who still seek to praise our Lord in times of trial. Like Job, we are merely being tested by forces unknown to us. Yet neither shall we waver... neither shall we give in.
Our Lord is with us.
Lord God, we praise you for creating man, and still more for restoring him in Christ. Your Son shared our weakness; may we share his glory, for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
[☨]In that benediction he raised his articulate hands and gave the Sign of the Cross.
The man, the crusader, was weak. Weaker physically than he had ever been before in his conflicted life. As more the grating days passed, the more his white cloths he touched to his mouth stained with cursed sanguine, the colors of his Crusade: White and Red.
How irony plagued him that as he died in the land of Midian he cried out and knew no one would hear him.. and now that here as his death slowed to a crawl, that he should cry through the pages he held in his hands, and truly believe that He would hear. For alone was he, with none left to turn to but the faith he had forgotten in his crusade for power.
In that very moment, the Archbishop felt a weight leave him, like a respite drawn from his lips.. something he barely understood before, yet here in this Purgatory, he may have just finally discerned that grace.[☨]
Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum.