Discalced Carmelite Friars

Province of St. Therese

OCDS Central

Unnatural Joy

!!!????!!!!!!
Wait.  What just happened?!!
Darkness, quiet, emotions subdued,
Stillness, waiting, a match sizzles
Wood pops and hisses with
Life and anticipation.

Senses like a held breath,
All quiet.
Exult! You heavenly choirs Exult!
Christ the Lord is risen, sound the trumpet of salvation!

No. Wait. Slow down. I’m not ready.
40 days? Chocolate, wine, Facebook?
No! Let me do something worthy of this.
No.  The time of confused marvel is at hand.
The tomb is empty.

My sister Edith in heaven chants
“Christ lag in todesbanden!”
With songs of Alleluia. Alleluia.
Did I spell it right?
What a strange word,
What tidings it tells!

The left side of my chest
Vibrates with a nervous tension.
A fire consumes the dry wood there
A bubbling spring of water…
When did it start?

“Lord send out your spirit and renew the face of the earth”
“You are my inheritance O Lord”
“Let us sing to the Lord, he has covered himself in glory”
“Christ raised from the dead dies no more”
“Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!”
“God’s mercy endures forever!”

My heart a raging flame.
No.  My preparations a drop of the bucket,
Like rust on the scales.
No!  Wait heart!  You don’t deserve it!
Too late! You’re swelling like the organ in these Alleluias!

Go! Be filled with the unnatural Joy
Of this night. This holy awesome night.
Filled with a heavenly light,
A radiant glow.

Thomas, they devoted three verses to you
His death was too much for
Your unwieldy grief.
So He came to you and overcome with awe
My Lord and My God!

The mother of all liturgies is over
In darkness I listen to clumsy
Words of intellect
Speaking of poetic beauty
Of confusion on that first Easter morn.
The women arrive and hear and see.
He is not here.  He is risen!

No, it’s madness…no, it’s true!
These strange events.
Who could have moved that gigantic stone?
The young man inside dressed in white?
No time to ask questions!
I know what’s said is true!!
This faith lives and breathes
In me is also a mystery.

“Chrystus zmarwychwstał i żyje!”
My tongue and lips trip and wrangle over these words.
But not my brother John Paul the Great.
In heaven these words are like dew on your lips
Just as my tangled mind and
Heart experience this Easter Joy
My heart and soul a riot of unearthly Joy.

And still more to come, for
The dawn is here and the perfect chant
The Easter sequence still ahead
May my tongue be worthy of its proclamation
An ancient message, as fresh as this breaking day.

Yes Christ my hope rose gloriously!
He goes before you into Galilee.
Share the good news sing joyfully,
His death is victory! Lord Jesus Victor King.
Show us mercy!

Russurexit, sicut dixit. Alleluia!
Yes, he is truly risen. Alleluia! Alleluia!

Yes.  This unnatural Joy of Easter
Comes with little to compare of my own
Gifts, my own effort.
Freely given, he showers me
In unending love and mercy


Written by Hannah de Lisser
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Other Blogs by Secular Discalced Carmelites:

  • Bethany Hang Out – a blog by Shawn Chapman, OCDS. Shawn is a member of the Austin community of Secular Discalced Carmelites. She also writes regularly for ATX Catholic online.
  • Elizabeth Explores Writing - a blog by Elizabeth Ogilvie, OCDS. Elizabeth is a Secular Discalced Carmelite of the U.S. Central Province.
  • Gray Rising – a blog by Tim Bete, OCDS. Tim is a member of the community of the Secular Discalced Carmelites in Dayton, OH.
  • Hearth Cake and a Jug of Water – Mary Bellman, a member of the Dallas OCDS community, sends out a daily Carmelite quotation by e-mail. Send her an email at bellman.mary@gmail.com if you would like to be added on her mailing list and receive these Carmelite quotations.
  • Illumina, Domine – a blog by Pat Enk, a Secular Discalced Carmelite of the U.S. Central Province.