Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Leaning Into Lent: Day 30—Blood of Christ, Inebriate Me

Jesus speaks of difficulty, impossibility, leaving family behind and the first coming last in the St James Devotional Guide Matthew 19 (vv23-30) reading this morning. Hard, sacrificial, impossible things. And yet, I prayed in Morning Prayer:
May we walk this day in the way of the cross
and always be ready to share its weight,
declaring your love for all the world.
That’s a Lenten leaning I hadn’t thought of. Being ready for some of the weight of the cross of Jesus to lean on me. Heavy. Difficult. Impossible without God. I thought I’d be doing all the leaning and Jesus would be doing all the supporting.

More blood this morning, too. In the shorter Prayer During the Day liturgy for Passiontide, this:
Soul of Christ, sanctify me,
body of Christ, save me,
blood of Christ, inebriate me,
water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O good Jesus, hear me:
hide me within your wounds
and never let me be separated from you.
From the wicked enemy defend me,
in the hour of my death, call me
and bid me come to you,
so that with your saints I may praise you
for ever and ever.
Amen.                          Anima Christi (14th century)
Blood of Christ, inebriate me. Now there’s another difficult, seemly impossible thing. I can’t imagine getting tipsy on the blood of Jesus—for blood to be a joy—to be that blood thirsty. And yet…

Kathleen Norris, in her book, The Cloister Walk (New York: Riverhead Books, 1996) writes of Diane Glancy, a poet, who “loves Christianity because it is a ‘blood religion’” (p154). And in Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith (New York: Riverhead Books, 1998) she quotes Rubén Martínez who
cheerfully describes himself as "not just a cultural Catholic, mind you, but a flesh-eating, blood-drinking practitioner of the faith" (p113-114).
I drink blood, too—well, sip it, actually. On Sunday mornings. Sometimes when I had to consume a little too much left over consecrated wine after the celebration of the Eucharist, I felt slightly inebriated. But that's not what the prayer is about. It's about another "impossible" thing—being glad hearted (Ps 104.15) enough to lose my inhibitions so that the weight of the cross leaning on me will declare to the world the love of Jesus.