The theme for today’s Morning Prayer is about love. Well, the love of Jesus, to be precise. But it is the love of Jesus that forms the basis of all human loves. As you can see from the title at the top of the page, we want to talk about love today because next Tuesday is Valentine’s Day – or the Feast of St Valentine. There is a saint by that name and there are various stories about how St Valentine has become associated with boyfriends and girlfriends and falling in love. You may find out more about that on First Class, if you log on to the Student Learning Area, there is a new forum known as Friday Morning Prayer.
Today, I would like to introduce a poem to you. Please follow the reading as printed in your hymnal to be read by Mr Mckenzie
I See His Blood Upon the Rose by Joseph Mary Plunkett
I see his blood upon the rose // And in the stars the glory of His eyes,
His body gleams amid eternal snows, // His tears fall from the skies.
I see his face in every flower; // The thunder and the singing of the birds
Are but His voice – and carven by His power // Rocks are His written words.
All pathways by His feet are worn, // His strong heart stirs the ever-beating sea,
His crown of thorns is twined with every thorn, // His cross is every tree.
Not too many difficult words here.
3rd line: Amid – has the same meaning as “among.” It must be lovely to live in the countryside: having your home amid trees and farm must be better than amid high-rises and skyscrapers.
3rd line: Gleam: When eyes gleam, they shine in a way that expresses a particular emotion. The line “His body gleams amid eternal snows” means “His body shines among the snow.
7th line: Carven = carved: made by cutting: E.g., He carved her name on a tree. Her name is carven with love on a tree. Another example: For Halloween, people put a candle in carven pumpkins.
10th line: Stir = to mix a liquid by moving something like a spoon in a circular pattern: You can stir some sugar into the coffee to make it sweet. Another example: My heart stirs when I see how the national flag is flown everywhere on October 1.
10th line: Beat = to make a regular movement or sound: e.g. My heart beats faster than normal when I am excited. I need to take a rest now because my heart is beating very fast. So: Ever-beating sea = the sea with waves making a regular sound
11th line: Twine = to wrap round an object several times E.g. The vine twines around the branch. You can see that in the picture provided. Don’t confuse this word with the word TWIN vs TWINE.
So you understand the words, do you understand the poem? Let’s examine the first sentence again: I see his blood upon the rose And in the stars the glory of his eyes... Why would the poet see blood on a rose? I can think of two possibilities: One: Someone was hurt by a rose; perhaps a thorn has pricked his finger and his blood stays on the rose. Two: The poet is talking about someone whom he loves very much. This person has died and seeing a rose would remind the poet of this person. Yes, that would be the reason. Can you guess who this person is? If you remember at the beginning of the talk, I have told you today’s morning prayer is about the love of Jesus. So, the poet is saying: When he sees a rose, he would see the blood of Jesus. That’s why all the “his” in the poem should have been “His”. Can you please change that if you have a pencil handy? The poet would make that connection because, I guess, Jesus’ blood is red, and each drop of blood is similar to a rose petal. And, most importantly, the love of Jesus is as beautiful as a rose.
We can use this same idea to understand the rest of the poem: The stars in the sky would remind Plunkett, the poet, of the eyes of Jesus. The gleaming snows would remind Joseph Mary, our poet, how the body of Jesus shines. When the poet says: “His body gleams amid eternal snows” is really saying “When I see how the snow in winter gleams, it is like seeing the body of Jesus gleams”. And so on with rain, thunder and birds’ singing.
The climax is the last line: His crown of thorns is twined with every thorn, // His cross is every tree. You may remember that before Jesus died, someone gave him a crown made of thorns to wear. Imagine that would be very painful; but because of his love for us, Jesus endured the crown. So thorns become a symbol of Jesus’ love and that’s the reason the poet would see how the crown of thorns of Jesus would twin / mix with thorn on a plant.
Indeed, when you love someone, you would always think about him / her. And because you carry his or her memory with you so much, it is very natural for you to be reminded of this person by just about anything. So, from this poem, we know Joseph Mary Plunkett loves Jesus very much. But the truth is that Jesus loves us first. He carries us in His Sacred Heart. All our love for Jesus is only a return of His love. In the Bible, St John write: “We love because he first loved us” (1 Jn 4:19).
My dear friends, when you love someone deeply deeply, you would naturally see his / her presence everywhere. Can you see Jesus? Hopefully, today, you would see, you would hear or even you would touch Jesus – perhaps in every rose, in every tree and in each smiling face that you meet.
Let’s listen to the poem one more time and then we would pray together. [POEM] Please look up at the screen and say the prayer together. I would invite the prefects to step forward and look at the screen.
O Lord Jesus, we thank you for Your love for us. Please make us see your blood upon the rose and in the stars the glory of Your eyes. O Lord Jesus, open our eyes so we could see Your body gleams amid eternal snows and Your tears fall from the skies. O Lord Jesus, please make us see your face in every flower. O Lord Jesus, please open our eyes so we could see Your crown of thorns twined with every thorn, and that Your cross is every tree. We ask you to bless this day as we begin a new day of learning. You live forever and You are King eternally. Amen.