O, that you would tear the heavens open

and come down


From where we stand, the Cave is dark.

We wait in this valley of darkness; this night

of shadows and echoes from the past.


The Father is aware, but silent;

the Watchers are there, mute and still;

the Holy Ghost broods with quiet joy.


Moses is there in a cleft of the rock;

Plato observes the images thrown on the wall

by the fire outside, near the sheep-fold.


In this silence and darkness is no threat,

for waiting there is right; without signs.

Mary has said her Fiat and it shall be.


The door pushed open by the shepherds,

casts another shadow on the wall;

image of a cross, for pain is there before birth.


Then, at the breath of a new Creation

uttered by the Father, the Holy Ghost stirs;

Jesus slips into the waiting world.


The Father tears open the curtains of heaven,

beside Himself with the weight of joy

at this first glimpse of His only Son,


Child, you shine at your birth, translucent

with love of the Father, who sees even now, how

the veil of the temple will be rent at your death.



Sr. Mary Stephen Astley OSB

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