Poem By Paul Clement Czaja
Mary holds the dead Jesus in her lap
Like her baby,
And she gently rocks Him
As if He were just asleep,
But this is not the Bethlehem Cave.
It is Golgotha.
And the blood she sees on Him
Is not the blood of birth
But the blood of death.
She feels utterly alone,
What is she to do about it?
She is His mother,
And so she must clean Him up, wash Him,
Get all the grime and gore off,
As she did so many times
When He was a little boy
And was hurt at play.
So - as if in a reverie -
She begins to wash His wounds
With a little white handkerchief
Wet with tears.
“I will make you clean, my son, ”
She murmurs - so softly
Only the angel near can hear.
“I will make it better.
“I will make it go away, ”
She says as she wipes Him -
Wipes gently at the blood.
The little white cloth
Turns red - turns red
With sacred blood wine and tear water.
Mary’s heart, now pierced a seventh time,
Is the wellspring of the salty cleansing water
Streaming from her gray,
Morning-sky-blue eyes now ruddy rimmed
From weeping over Him.
And with every wipe of her hand
A sweet remembrance comes to mind:
The Gospel According to the Virgin Mary -
Save in the hidden folds of her memory.
A story only she could tell
To the red-haired Mary
When tomorrow’s tomorrow
Would find them living with young John,
Her Christ given son forevermore –
The Holy Three becoming the First Church
In John’s humble house.
In this timeless Pieta Moment,
Where is He?
Where has He gone?
Mary, the mother,
Weeps and weeps and weeps -
She is holding His cold body to her breast -
Rocking, wailing low, weeping, weeping.
Jesus’ face is empty, silent, sleeping.
No more His look of acceptance.
No more that voice that went straight
To your heart.
Gone that smile that made your very soul
Sing out like a songbird in summer
Whenever you saw it.
What emptiness with Him gone.
The sky opens and thunder roars!
A sudden downpour of cold hard icy rain
She looks up at last to find a storm
Raging all about Jerusalem - people
Running every which way for shelter.
It is finished. It is over.
The pelting rain washed Golgotha clean
Of onlookers, soldiers, disciples,
And His blood.
Friends are lifting Him up -
Carrying Him away for burial.
And now John, the Apostle Jesus loved most,
Lovingly lifts Mary up
And leads her away down the muddy hill
Following those bearing the Broken Body
In their arms - what sweet burden!
Puts a graced thought into Mary’s mind:
“From His Sacrifice comes
“The Victory of the Good! ”
In her pocket,
She stills holds a red handkerchief.