Vere, tu es Deus Absconditus
And like the deer for running streams
How my eyes thirst to see You!
At Christmas I beheld You
By angel choirs adored, but now
Their “Glorias” are gone and with them…my Lord?
To the ‘tonus peregrinus’ does my soul sigh, forlorn;
Has the Sanhedrin taken Him?
Where has my Beloved gone?
For even on the Cross, I see Him
Shrouded from my gaze;
His royal purples hide Him
Unto the end of these forty days.
I hunger for You, Adonai,
And will you hide from me?
Come back to me, Beloved,
Whose Face I long to see…
A Marian Sister of Santa Rosa
For a Marian Sister of Santa Rosa, the sacred liturgies take pride of place as the principal means of union, sanctification, and the glorification of God. In the liturgical year, we follow Our Lord’s life in all His mysteries: we adore Him at Bethlehem, rejoice with Him at healings and conversion in His public ministry; and, throughout Lent and unto His sorrowful passion, we agonize, sacrifice, and make of ourselves an offering to the Father for the salvation of souls with Him. In all of them, our liturgical life—in the Holy Mass, the Divine Office, and customs of the liturgical seasons—profoundly shapes how we prepare for, and enter into, each season.
In these days of Passiontide, the pace of the trajectory towards calvary accelerates. Our Lord performs His greatest miracles, is given the most heinous insults, and it seems that His Divinity, His mission, and the battle between good and evil are at their greatest display. Yet, it is precisely here, after Our Lord has exposed His identity by identifying with as ‘I Am’ that He then “…hides Himself…” It is as when, in the spiritual life, Our Lord first shows Himself to the beloved soul and gives her a taste of His sweetness, then seems to hide Himself—or at least the tangible delight of His Presence. This withdrawal of Our Lord from the temple, represented in the liturgical year, is seen in every element of our liturgical life: in the slow retreat of the Gloria Patri from the Divine Office, the intentionally profound silence of our conventual Masses, and —most tangibly—in the veiling of images, including those of Our Beloved Bridegroom, Blessed Mother, Foster-Father…It would seem that, in this last stretch of Lent, Our Lord asks a more profound fasting than from food: a fasting of our voices and our eyes, which leaves the Religious with hunger pangs. Our life is for the glory of God, and can we not sing it? Our life is for Our Lord Jesus, and can we not see Him?
Yet, just as when Our Lord recedes from the senses of a soul in the spiritual life, so too this obscuring of Our Lord and His glory in Passiontide is for the sake of greater union and purer love. Our eyes being deprived of the vision of Him in our Chapel, we must exercise greater Faith to see Him in our Sisters, our students, our Superiors. Most importantly, we must seek Him with all the greater love and faith where He resides not in image but in fact: in the Most Blessed Sacrament. It gives the opportunity as well to seek Him in the innermost depths of our own souls, the interior sacristy where our Bridegroom is preparing to, through us, enter again into His Passion. This hunger that we experience in the absence of the Beloved will be brought to its climax on Good Friday, but will be sated in superabundance when a light shines from the darkness, and in place of mourning “Exultet!” rings forth.