A Litany of Embodied Solitude: A Poem with the Prayers of Holy Week

A Litany of Embodied Solitude

A Poem with the Prayers of Holy Week

Stuart Higginbotham


How do we sing the Lord’s song

in a strange land?

By opening our hearts before

we open our mouths and

giving thanks for God’s pervasive presence

in glimpses of truth, that we are being held.

Let the same mind be in you–in us–

that was in Christ Jesus.

Let go.

Let go.

Let go.

Assist us mercifully with your help, O Lord

God of our salvation,

that we may enter with joy upon

the contemplation of those mighty acts,

whereby You have given us life and immortality.

May I remember that contemplation’s 

home is in my heart not my grasping mind.

May I look to the Blessed Mother,

alone in that room when the messenger came,

who pondered such beauty in her heart.

All glory, laud, and honor.

Let go.

Let go.

Let go.

Mercifully grant that we may receive

this Sacrament thankfully in 

remembrance of Jesus Christ our Lord,

who in these holy mysteries gives us

a pledge of eternal life.

May I remember, may those disjointed

parts of me–the conflicting pieces–be brought

together into the wholeness You dream.

May I remember that the Sacrament is not

a thing but the Thing in the thing–

keep my eyes there and I see hope

even in isolation. 

On the night in which he was betrayed

Jesus took a loaf of bread.

Taste and see that the Lord is good.

Let go.

Let go.

Let go.

Almighty God, we pray you graciously

to behold this your family,

for whom our Lord Jesus Christ

was willing to be betrayed,

and given into the hands of sinners,

and to suffer death upon the cross.

May I remember that you see me

where I am, as I am, here and now.

For behold, you look or truth deep within me,

and will make me understand wisdom secretly.

Where can I go, then, from your Spirit?

Where can I flee from your presence?

You see me–see us–and sometimes I wish you didn’t,

but now I am so thankful you do.

Help me remember that

my suffering, solitude, fear–the unknown–

all of it Is redeemed in You. 

Let go.

Let go.

Let go.

O God, Creator of heaven and earth:

Grant that, as the crucified body of 

Your dear Son was laid in the tomb and

rested on this holy Sabbath,

so may we await with him the coming of

the third day, and rise with him 

To newness of life.

May I rest. Oh yes, may I rest.  

May I trust enough and

my heart relax enough

that I feel the pressure of your touch

on the wounded places of my soul.

What is there to do sometimes but wait?

Be still and know that I am God.

Oh we are not good at this, but

it is today’s lesson.

Let go.

Let go.

Let go.

On this most holy night,

in which our Lord Jesus passed over

from death to life, the Church

invites her members, dispersed throughout

the world, to gather in vigil and prayer.

Let us keep vigil and ponder–yes ponder–

in our hearts, those spaces that have been

stretched in our suffering, our isolation,

perhaps now ready, more supple to see

the Thing within the thing.

Yes, that deeper truth–

in our life, our heart, our bodies.

Stir up in your Church that

Spirit of adoption which is

given to us in Baptism, that we,

being renewed in both body and mind,

may worship you in sincerity and truth. 

Now these words come alive

and sing in our hearts, pulsing,

because of this, because of now.

My heart is broken open, and

perhaps now redemption and healing

are more than topics in a paper.

I can taste them, even in the hunger

and my deep yearning.

Yes.  I will pause here, even now:

the deep yearning.


SH 4/3/2020

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