The Man Who Could Not Move

(Reflections on a Paralytic)
August 19, 2007

When I saw the man who could not move
it was for me all over….

I saw him lying on his bed
(a strange smell was in the room);
there were saints of stone around him
and lighted candles too.
He would laugh as if he cried;
he would cry as if he laughed;
he was neither mad nor sane:
this was simply how he spoke
because he could not move.

What I saw made me bitter:
I believed in joy no longer,
though I still believed in God.
Something really sharp had cut me,
gave a wound that would not heal.
Life took on a different meaning,
which so suddenly became clear:
In the midst of speech and silence,
in the thick of things to come,
some unclear, appointed suffering
might be waiting round the bend!

Then I saw the Man who could not move –
arms outstretched upon a cross,
blood and tears upon his face,
a crown of thorns upon his brow.
The hands that made the world were pinned
so helplessly… so willingly.
(He died in absolute safety
in the arms of Perfect Love.)
And his joy was all the greater
because he could not move…

Now our joy is all the greater
because he would not move.

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