Hymn for the Feast of the Stigmata


I wrote this hymn for the Stigmata (17 September) 10 years ago in 2007, and I offer it again as a resource for you.

When singing this hymn, it really suits the tune ‘Kremser’ best. If you use ‘The Ash Grove’ you need to align the number of lines of music with the number of lines of text – not difficult!

Here it is for your meditation:

When Francis our father received the stigmata,
he climbed up Averna and prayed from the heart.
With all his believing, he now is receiving
the marks on his body of being in Christ.

So first there is Moses, who on our God closes
by opening his life to the power of the law.
He follows obeying, and does what God’s saying:
the marks on his body of being in Christ.

And next there is Jesus who brightness releases.
On Carmel he’s climbing and shines in the light.
The truth that he’s revealing, with serving we’re sealing
the marks on our body of being in Christ.

So when our Saint Francis on Averna dances,
He turns to the Lord and is won by the Cross.
Obeying and seeing, and turning and freeing
the marks on his body of being in Christ.

Now we who are living find joy in thanksgiving.
We seek out a place to pause and to pray.
The love that we’re gaining is expressed with pain in
the marks on our body of being in Christ.

  • Ted Witham © 2007

***

This hymn was inspired by Moses’ experience of the glory of God when he climbed Mount Sinai. This is described in Exodus 24:12-18 set for the Old Testament reading for the Stigmata (in the Australian Third Order Manual).

 

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Moses’ veil


Two treks up the high mountainside for God:
First climb with light pack, heart open to awe
The great man of God ached, yearned and saw God,
And watched God’s finger carve on stone the Law.

 
But the people, Ah! his people, they turned to gold,
Loving it, their greedy false self they fed:
when their prophet returned, he saw they had sold
their souls, and gold had mutely turned to lead.

 
Moses broke the stones, climbed the breathy track,
This time took care with God the work to share:
In anger and in love he wrote the second plaque,
And held God’s heart in God’s shekinah glare.

 
One thing of Moses’ veil is worth to know:
Light that comes from inside has the brightest glow.

 

– Exodus 34:1-35

Transfiguration


Transfiguration

I walk this distant red gorge path alone.
My feet seek strength but I fear its sheer side,
I reach out searching for my God: unknown.
I touch nothing and weep; my faith has died.

I trudge on with the bread and blood and Word
These connect me to the church not to God.
“Scriptura sola” is literally absurd
My only joy is that others have trod

This way; and overstepped the bounds of linking.
I’ve lost the power to feel where God creates,
Abandoned zeal, fearing downfall, am sinking —
Instead of love, my worship isolates.

I falter, fall, free-fall down the chasm deep,
I faithless, God grasps me, who makes the leap.

  • Luke 9:28-36 (February 7, 2016)
    “Scriptura sola” – Latin tag meaning “Scripture alone”.

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Image courtesy http://www.australiasnorthwest.com/Destinations/The_Pilbara