Birth’s Cry 

He thought his life’s work done. And yet
an unhoped for voyage awaits
across the desert of mind and soul,
a confrontation to cast underfoot 
the demon of nothingness - 
who contests God’s creation,
who numbs souls and minds
beguiles them into nonbeing
to be welter and waste. Perturbed
he wrestles his calling:

“Is this voyage to be my last, 
before my birth? One last voyage 
to put down this creeping nothingness,
This demon’s shadow stalks the faithful,
destroys hopes of animated breath,
intimidates hope’s promise
in the voyage through death. 

Now is this to be a prolonged birth,
held in earth’s womb that my animated breath
be used once more? O I have lived long, 
no earthly desires remain,
my numbered days seem no more.
O like Saint Paul I yearn to leave, 
made fully human - the glory of Christ,
resurrected in the image of God.

And why this delay? 
I so desire to be born from earth’s womb
into the fullness of resurrected life.
When shall earth’s waters be broken?
Let the labour pains begin,
my birth into Christ’s glory.

Yet I turn to face He whose death
defeats death resurrects life -
to be made fully human by grace
in the image of God - the glory of Christ.
So I call upon He who creates
light amidst darkness,
and the darkness knows,
light it can not overthrow.
I call upon the Living Word
who out of nothing creates life,
I call upon the Heavenly Host,
as the did Saints through the ages,
to encircle each step of the way.

My breath soon must cease,
aged and weary my work done,
or so I thought. This is no lament,
no complaint like Job,
no question of ‘to be or not to be?’

But might I pray, 
'Deliver me from this trial'?
Or simply say, 'Let it be'
for the love of the stranger, O let it be
for the love of my neighbour,
for the love of God?

If 'let it be'
unleash once more your mighty power,
vivify my animated flesh, my tired breath.
And I too shall face, as did the Saints,
the demon of nothingness
that infests mind and soul;
who by stealth wearies the heart. 
As did the Desert Fathers
I shall rest my head
upon the breast of Christ, 
my weak flesh enlivened by the Living Word,
my breath nourished by the Spirit,
And I shall drink from the chalice, 
eat shared bread.

If 'let it be', my vessel awaits 
all the wisdom and power of Christ -
fire in the marrow of old bones. 
Let my martyrdom on earth be
in the fullness of time  
bearing fruit with joy.”
© Craig A Roberts, 2023
Celtic Advent

Photo: Adobestock
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