Friday, April 10, 2009

"The Insane Sin of Man": Two Poems for Good Friday

We're coming out of retirement to share these two sonnets by Luís de Camões, translated by William Baer.

The Passion

So why has the triune God, in agony,
sacrificed himself for the insane sin
of Man? Because no man could ever begin
to withstand the just and heavy penalty.
Who could endure the necessary pains?
Who could suffer such injury, death, and disgrace?
No one, except for God, whose sovereign grace
commands, and reigns, and obeys, as He ordains.
The resources of men are way too weak and small;
they could never sustain the pain of God’s just plan
For righteous and necessary restitution.
So God’s great strength endures it all,
with a pure and merciful love for helpful Man:
who makes the error, but never the retribution.


O Glorious Cross

O glorious cross, O victorious
and holy prize that encompasses everything;
O chosen miraculous sign ordained to bring
Your remedy to each and every one of us.
O living font of sacred blood, expel
our sins and cure our sinful souls. In You,
O Lord, we know the almighty God, who
embodies the gentle name of mercy as well.
With You, the time of vengeance ends. A new
compassion flowers forever, and ever,
like after winter, when springtime blossoms again.
So vanquish all your enemies, Lord, You
who’ve made so many changes, yet never
cease to be exactly what you’ve always been.

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