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Father Ryan's Poems (97)

2006-09-08 16:38

    Mother's Way

    Of within our little cottage, As the shadows gently fall, While the sunlight touches softly One sweet face upon the wall, Do we gather close together, And in hushed and tender tone Ask each other's full forgiveness For the wrong that each has done. Should you wonder why this custom At the ending of the day, Eye and voice would quickly answer "It was once our mother's way."

    If our home be bright and cheery, If it holds a welcome true, Opening wide its door of greeting To the many ——not the few; If we share our father's bounty With the needy day by day, 'Tis because our hearts remember This was ever mother's way.

    Sometimes when our hands grow weary, Or our tasks seem very long; When our burdens look too heavy, And we deem the right all wrong; Then we gain a new, fresh courage, And we rise to proudly say "Let us do our duty bravely —— This was our dear mother's way."

    Then we keep her memory precious, While we never cease to pray That at last, when lengthening shadows Mark the evening of our day, They may find us waiting calmly To go home our mother's way. Feast of the Presentation of Maryin the TempleThe priests stood waiting in the holy place, Impatient of delay (Isaiah had been read), When sudden up the aisle there came a face Like a lost sun's ray; And the child was led By Joachim and Anna. Rays of grace Shone all about the child; Simeon looked on, and bowed his aged head —— Looked on the child, and smiled.

    Low were the words of Joachim. He spake In a tremulous way, As if he were afraid, Or as if his heart were just about to break, And knew not what to say; And low he bowed his head —— While Anna wept the while ——he, sobbing, said "Priests of the holy temple, will you take Into your care our child?" And Simeon, listening, prayed, and strangely smiled.

    A silence for a moment fell on all; They gazed in mute surprise, Not knowing what to say, Till Simeon spake "Child, hast thou heaven's call?" And the child's wondrous eyes (Each look a lost sun's ray) Turned toward the far mysterious wall. (Did the veil of the temple sway?) They looked from the curtain to the little child —— Simeon seemed to pray, and strangely smiled.

    "Yes; heaven sent me here. Priests, let me in!" (And the voice was sweet and low.) "Was it a dream by night? A voice did call me from this world of sin ——A spirit-voice I know, An angel pure and bright. `Leave father, mother,' said the voice, `and win'; (I see my angel now) `The crown of a virgin's vow.' I am three summers old —— a little child." And Simeon seemed to pray the while he smiled.

    "Yes, holy priests, our father's God is great, And all His mercies sweet! His angel bade me come —— Come thro' the temple's beautiful gate; He led my heart and feet To this, my holy home. He said to me `Three years your God will wait Your heart to greet and meet.' I am three summers old ——I see my angel now —— Brighter his wings than gold —— He knoweth of my vow." The priests, in awe, came closer to the child —— She wore an angel's look —— and Simeon smiled.

    As if she were the very holy ark, Simeon placed his hand On the fair, pure head. The sun had set, and it was growing dark; The robed priests did stand Around the child. He said "Unto me, priests, and all ye Levites, hark! This child is God's own gift -Let us our voices lift In holy praise." They gazed upon the child In wonderment —— and Simeon prayed and smiled.

    And Joachim and Anna went their way ——The little child, she shed The tenderest human tears. The priests and Levites lingered still to pray; And Simeon said "We teach the latter years The night is passing 'fore the coming day (Isaiah had been read) Of our redemption" —— and some way the child Won all their hearts. Simeon prayed and smiled.

    That night the temple's child knelt down to pray In the shadows of the aisle —— She prayed for you and me. Why did the temple's mystic curtain sway? Why did the shadows smile? The child of Love's decree Had come at last; and 'neath the night-stars' gleam The aged Simeon did see in dream The mystery of the child, And in his sleep he murmured prayer —— and smiled.

    And twelve years after, up the very aisle Where Simeon had smiled Upon her fair, pure face, She came again, with a mother's smile, And in her arms a Child, The very God of grace. And Simeon took the Infant from her breast, And, in glad tones and strong, He sang his glorious song Of faith, and hope, and everlasting rest.

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