At the Entrance of mass today we sang one of my favourite Easter hymns: "The day of Resurrection! Earth, tell it out abroad". I love singing this hymn of St John of Damascus and I remembered as we sang it my second son's baptism which opened with this hymn. Yet as I looked around it was clear that many did not know this one! Those that did sang gustily the rest seemed to stand silent. Looking to my mother-in-law (a cradle Catholic) I realised it wasn't in the usual Catholic repertoire. My wife usually says to me, "This is an Anglican one!" This is what we might call part of Anglican Patrimony, that which the Holy Father desires us, the Ordinariate, to bring back to enrich the Catholic Church. A hymn of St John of Damascus (c.750) cannot be said to belong to Anglicans of course, but the translation of this Greek hymn (Anastaseos hemera) into English was done by J.M.Neale, an Anglican Clergyman who did such a superb work in translating numerous hymns of Christian tradition, many of which can be found in The English Hymnal. The second verse is applicable to the gospel reading of the day (Emmaus):
That we may see aright
The Lord in rays eternal
And, listening to his accents,
May hear so calm and plain
His own "All hail," and, hearing,
May raise the victor strain.
While I am far from being a wordsmith, I rejoice in the beauty of the poetry of these words conveying such sublime Resurrection faith. The eyes of our hearts are frequently blocked from seeing the eternal rays of resurrection-light, which was the experience of the two disciples on the Emmaus road on Easter day, who could not see the Lord in their midst. Are we not just as blind? St John of Damascus in his hymn reminds us of the beatitude of our Lord: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God, as we reflect on our own blindness. It is purity of heart that we all need in order to see more clearly. Let us all pray for that!
For those like my sons following the development of pondlife, the news at the pond is that a tadpole has been spotted with two small hind legs! Most of the tadpoles are starting to change body shape but are still moving by tail. Well things are visibly happening at last!
PS Please remember my family in your prayers as we are expecting an addition to our family any time now - a ninth child.