For the Feast of the Assumption

A translated poem from the great French Catholic poet Paul Claudel:


It is she; it is she! At the thought of her the whole Bible catches fire in my mind in a blaze of syllables, like a fabric sown with brilliants!

It is she; it is she! She is the drop of manna the Lord placed in the mouth of Eve to take away the taste of the forbidden fruit and to impart it to Adam. It is she who set all sacred history in motion.

It is she who lured Abraham from the town of Ur of the Chaldees, away from those hydraulic complications and regulations and all that bakery of clay idols, and who summoned him out into the world to take command and leadership of his flock. It is she who led him to those plateaus where we meet Melchizedek, King of Salem, and who raised that pavilion where the guests are the three Persons of the Trinity.

She is the image of Isaac in the heart of Rebekah; she is the treaty of Jacob through all those years of slavery. She was waiting, drum in hands, on the opposite bank of the Red Sea to greet the terrified column of refugees. She beguiled David through the eyes of Bathsheba–and through the mouth of Solomon she gave caravans to the Queen of Sheba in exchange for the incense of the desert and the ivory of Ethiopia, a wondrous remuneration of riddles and enigmas.

Down through the generations of kings and pontiffs, mortified believers and wailing women, through the transplantations of Babylon and Medea, she fed silently on the milk and honey of the prophecies. She whom “all generations have called blessed” is the central figure and the culmination of a whole race tormented by the Word of God. (Rose, 121)



Dormition 2

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