April

When April comes on blue-veined feet. . .

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“It is His garment; and to them / Who touch in faith its utmost hem

He, turning, says again, “I see / That virtue hath gone out of me.”

-John Bannister Tabb, Nature

“I have never been able to school my eyes / Against young April’s blue surprise

Though year by year I tell my heart / This spring our pulses shall not start

Nor beauty take us unaware, / Beauty that is the blue of air,

Blue crocus and a bluebird’s wing, / Water, blue shadow, everything

The sky can lay a finger on, / Blue twilight and the white blue dawn.

But every year in spite of this / Stern blunting of the edge of bliss,

When April first with blue-veined feet, / In any wood, down any street,

Comes as I know that she must come, / My foolish heart beats like a drum,

My eyes, for all the tutoring years, / Are faithless in their truant tears.”

-Charles L. O’Donnell, C.S.C.

“Give praise, O ye heavens, and rejoice, O earth; ye mountains, give praise with jubilation: because the Lord hath comforted His people, and will have mercy on His poor ones.”

– Isaias 49 (Epistle for Saturday of the Fourth Week in Lent)

What more is there to say? But I’ll find something. Curled up with a book of poems and a spring cold, what is there to do but think poetic thoughts?

April is here with all her glowing loveliness, and the world has forgotten winter and suddenly remembered color and noise and warmth. I often think of what a gift God gives to us when He gives each new year, each new season, month, day. The perceptible new start that time continuously offers us is only a dim echo of Christ’s beating heart, each beat pressing out His Precious Blood towards our souls in a constant, throbbing offer of reconciliation and purification.

To me, there is no more striking change of season than the transformation of the earth from its comatose winter state into the feverish beauty of spring. I’ve always loved spring, and this year I’ve come to marvel even more at its sudden appearance (everything happens quicker as I get older. . .). But new life never comes without a cost; and, breathtakingly, it comes to us liturgically during this April. Life is erupting from the deadness of the earth as we embrace these last days of Lent, and sometimes I wonder how it can be so easy to become blind to Our Lord’s gentle signs right in front of my eyes. No coincidences with God. . .none.

In this month, when the Sap of the Tree of Life spilled to fertilize souls, I will celebrate the eighteenth anniversary of my Baptism and the eleventh anniversary of First Holy Communion–the two most important days in all my life. Just when nature is adorned as a bride, our Holy Mother Church brings our souls, cleansed and clothed after the mortifications of Lent, to drink deeply the Chalice of Love at the Banquet of the Lamb. Whether gazing outside or kneeling at the altar rail, we are annihilated by the beauty of the will of God, Whose pierced Hands shape all things to deepest good for those who love Him. Laus tibi, Christe!

“This profusion of nature’s loveliness did so much good to my soul, raising it to the God who had poured such wonders on a land of exile destined to endure for but a day. . .I have caught a glimpse of what He has reserved for those He loves.”

-St. Therese of Lisieux

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