Holy Saturday: Awake, Sleeper

It dates from day
Of his going in Galilee;
Warm-laid grave of a womb-life grey;
Manger, maiden’s knee;
The dense and the driven Passion, and frightful sweat;
Thence the discharge of it, there its swelling to be,
Though felt before, though in high flood yet—
What none would have known of it, only the heart, being hard at bay . . .

—Gerard Manley Hopkins, The Wreck of the Deutschland

The incorruptible flesh of Christ, which was taken from the substance of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s body, now lays silent and still in the dark tomb.  Gerard Manley Hopkins captures in poetry the ancient patristic dictum that the womb and the tomb relate to each other typologically:

Warm-laid grave of a womb-life grey;
Manger, maiden’s knee.

The Son of God entered a state of helplessness through His Incarnation in the womb of His Mother and was consecrated to the task of our redemption by clothing Himself in our humanity.  The enclosed space of Our Lady’s womb is the first sanctuary of salvation, which Jesus leaves miraculously by the stupendous miracle of the Virgin Birth. Continue reading