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franciscan - May 2001

© The Society of Saint Francis, 2001

Mary to Elizabeth

By Sister Rosemary CHN

With dawn, the waking word ...
I shall not strive to tell you how it was.

You have long known the manner of his coming;
You taught me from the first to search the shadows
For his unmasking, and to hear full silence,
Intent upon a whisper I might hold
Deep-hidden in a quiet heart, and ponder;
You grieved with me for meeting disappointment,
When unawaited angels passed unwelcome,
Because not blazoned with celestial gold.

Insistent claimants covetous of wonders,
Unversed in wonder, rend the speaking stillness;
Only to you I can unveil the glory,
Because I have no words, and you need none.
The child in you salutes my child’s oblation;
In my obscurity your simple vision
Perceives me overshadowed by the Godhead,
Dim tabernacle for my radiant Son.

You who have waited year on year unwearied,
Walking in faith the way of God’s commandments,
Building your patient heart into an altar
In case the Lord should send down fire from heaven –
You of all women have no mind to question,
After the purging of your immolation,
Why the unequalled terror of this treasure
To me, untried, not then to you, is given.

Our God has done what pleased him, and your spirit
Acclaims with mine the comprehending mercy.
How should you look with envy at my blessing,
Exultant in thanksgiving for your own?
My choice defrauds no other of her choosing;
Out of the shining mystery that wraps us
Shall call to each her glad annunciation,
Whose secret Fiat must be hers alone.

Blessed are they who hear the word and keep it!

Behold, in all the ages of the world,
The handmaids of the Lord.
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CSF European Province First Order Sisters: Registered Charity Number 286615
SSF European Province First Order Brothers: Registered Charity Number 236464
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