Beneath dressed stone of the medieval age,
Enclosed in darkness lies the more ancient grave
Of its sacred occupant, empty after three days,
Through which Christ the Lord our sins forgave.
A garden and then a pagan fane
To the Roman goddess of beauty and love
Was founded upon the Mount of the Skull
Where Jesus both died and rose again.
The goddess stood for imperial might
Of a people that brooked no violent dissent.
Until victory, Rome would not relent.
A day then came when she ruled no more.
The mother of Constantine the Great
Discovered a piece of the true cross of Christ
And had built the church that sheltered his grave
Near where our Savior was sacrificed.
No foe could blot out the sacred space,
Even though the church was destroyed
By Persians and the Egyptian al-Hakim.
Again God’s house stands in its place.
The Son of God in deep darkness lay.
The crucified vested in a linen shroud,
A spotless victim of the envious and proud.
But, God in both light and darkness dwells.
To the Lord the darkness is as light
And brightness goes before His path.
The warrior goes forth for His people to fight.
So writes King David in ancient times.
The Lord arose in darkest night
And shone forth in splendor with the sun.
The tomb is empty by God’s own might,
That left it forlorn of the conquering Son.
Pilgrims come the shrine to view,
As the church’s worship continues on.
And then the Lord the foe subdues
To make the City and all things new.
Michael Tavella Thursday in Holy Week, 2023