St Clement’s Midnight Mass, 2012
Once in a while, my friends may be surprised to hear, I write a poem. This one reflects some of the joy I felt at our Midnight Mass.
“In darkest night, St Clement’s stands red-black against the sky;
Then gradually the light shines blue from narrow windows high
Above the garden, where St Francis keeps his peaceful place
And prays for faithful Clementines, who decked with silks and lace
The Christmas Crib, his own invention centuries before.
And now the first of worshippers steps through the open door
And signs himself a baptized child in holy water blessed,
Like Walsingham’s clear spring, where Lady Mary gave the best
Of gifts again to man, the child of Bethlehem, the boy
Of Nazareth, the man of Calvary, the cause of joy.
Not only on this Christmas night but ever through the year,
Our Lady sits within our door to make that message clear.
Then into church, where shining nave floor leads the eye to where
The House of Bread, our Bethlehem, on spot-lit altar there,
Of cloth of gold and red and blue and shining linen white.
From there he goes to venerate the tableau of that night
When Mary’s “Yes” undid Eve’s “No” to God’s unfolding plan
And brought forth Him in Bethlehem as weak, dependent man
Who made the world, the galaxies, and that star overhead,
And emptied of his godly power, He showed to us instead
What God’s power looks like here on earth – a Babe, a Cross, a Tomb.
But now at midnight, all we see is Mary, Joseph, room
For Jesus who will come in priestly arms, processed around
The church, to smiles and rueful recognition that a round
Of cheers and clapping would not be the way for Clementines
To show how moved they were. So in goes Jesus and the signs
Of Godhead are the holy water, incense smoke, right praise
For Him whose love will grow and nurture us through all our days.
And then back to the altar where the holy words are said;
Another wonder worked, when you and I are fed
With bread and wine, the life and power of Jesus for all time.
God bless us all! St Clement and Our Lady – help me rhyme!