Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Stigmata of St Francis

To-morrow is commemorated the impression of the sacred stigmata of St Francis; here is a hymn translated by Edward Caswall, appropriate to the coming day:

Crucis Christi mons Alvernae.

LET Alverna's holy mountain 
That high mystery proclaim, 
Of the stamps of life eternal 
Which on blessed Francis came ; 
While he sobb'd, and while he sigh'd, 
Grieving for the Crucified.

There, within a lonely cavern, 
Far from all the world withdrawn, 
As the Saint his watch was keeping, 
With incessant scourgings torn ; 
Ever musing more and more 
On the wounds that Jesus bore ; —

As he pray'd in cold and hunger ; 
As he pour'd his glowing tears ; 
In his fervent spirit mounting 
Far above terrestrial spheres,
Every earthly thing forgot 
In his Saviour's bitter lot ; —

Lo to him, in form seraphic, 
Borne upon a cross on high, 
Six irradiant wings expanding, 
Came the King of glory nigh ! 
Gazing on him with a face 
Of benignity and grace.

He that tender glance returning, 
Saw th' Incarnate Light of Light; 
Saw his gracious meek Redeemer, 
Rob'd in glory infinite; 
Drank the words that from Him fell,- 
Words divine, unspeakable !

Straightway all the sacred summit 
Kindles like a flaming pyre; 
Holy Francis sinks enraptur'd, 
Fainting with ecstatic fire ; 
And upon his flesh appear- 
Christ's immortal stigmata !

Honour to the high Redeemer, 
Who for us in torments died ; 
In whose image blessed Francis 
Suffer'd and was sanctified, 
Counting every thing but loss 
For the glory of the Cross.

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