Again, I should say that I do appreciate that the clergy are making what they honestly believe to be the best decision in difficult circumstances, in withdrawing the Precious Blood of Christ from the congregations. What I say about this is not a criticism of anyone’s goodwill, but an attempt to present a fuller perspective on the issue than I think is being considered, and to help myself (and hopefully others) to cope emotionally and spiritually with what is happening.
Temptation’s bitter vale – strange place of hopelessness –
O Shepherd of the sheep, where art Thy staff and rod?
The nourishment Thou gavest for Life fades from us away,
We are fed on lifeless theory and not the Living God.
O Vine of Life! How can we not learn to loathe Thee,
When pierced through and through by Thee with such a bitter knife?
How not turn, despairing, from Thy faith unto the world
When Thy stewards treat Thee but as a risk to earthly life?
O Christ our God! How didst Thou hold Thy faith
In the hour of Thine agony upon the dreadful Tree?
O remember Thou our weakness; come Thou swiftly to sustain us,
Ere we place our trust in that which is not Thee.
O, move the hearts which are now stone to us
To have pity on Thy Life as on the human birth.
Free Thou our hearts from this cage of stifling reason,
Raise Thou the eyes that see not beyond the earth.
O Lord, aid Thou the fire Thyself hast lit,
O see, it sinks and dies for want of nourishment!
And bear us in Thine arms, who perish from Thy loss;
Preserve in us the Life that Thou hast lent.
Edit 21st March 2020: This was originally published with the first verse reading as below, but I was unhappy with the quality, and hope I have managed to improve it slightly. I am aware of other technical issues in this one: I suspect I may end up rewriting it eventually as more than one poem.
My heart goes out to all those who now find themselves completely without the Sacraments due to the prohibitions on holding services. The secular world is probably acting conscientiously to its own values in forbidding it, but I do not think we are in obeying, unless we do so in the context of making adequate alternative provisions (I am very grateful for people’s efforts on that point). Death is unavoidable. If the Sacraments are the primary means by which we enter into the Divine Life that does not notice death, the last thing it makes sense to do is to expect people to face their earthly mortality without them.
Valley of temptation; grim place of hopelessness,
O Shepherd of Thy sheep, where art Thy staff and rod?
The nourishment of Life Thou gavest is fading fast away,
For our food is dead theology and not the Living God.