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  • Writer's pictureSean O'Leary

Why Not I?

Despite the modern world’s respect for scientific naturalism and our incredible capacity for scientific measurement, poetry - by speaking directly to our souls - has a way of capturing our hearts and opening our lives to a deeper enchantment.

The progress of the seasons, the blooming and fading of flowers, the speeding up and slowing down of life have long provided poignant symbols of ageing. Such symbols gracefully speak to us during this challenging time as a global pandemic ensnares the world.

Echoing Shakespeare, we might label this current slow-down the winter of our discontent. But amidst our feelings of discontent, hope persists. The poetry of Christina Rosetti offers us a note of consolation for Robin continues to sing through Winter’s rest.

The Key-Note

Where are the songs I used to know,

Where are the notes I used to sing?

I have forgotten everything

I used to know so long ago

Summer has followed after Spring;

Now Autumn is so shrunk and sere,

I scarcely think a sadder thing

Can be the Winter of my year.

Yet, Robin sings through Winter’s rest,

When bushes put their berries on;

While they their ruddy jewels don.

He sings out of a ruddy breast;

The hips and haws and ruddy breast

Make one spot warm where snowflakes lie

They break and cheer the unlovely rest

Of Winter’s pause --- and why not I?

This Easter, as we contemplate the pause that interrupts the normal flow of our lives, we all need symbols of hope whether we are believers or not.

Easter Sunday commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is a time of togetherness and spiritual communion in which we celebrate the triumph of good through which new beginnings become possible.

Everything we do in life forms part of our mission. During this pandemic, we have rediscovered through the heroic stories of key workers on the front lines that our mission is to serve others. Let this be our shared mission throughout the whole world even after this pandemic is overcome.

It is worth contemplating that willingly serving others is inseparable from humbly serving God.

Following Holy Week, the Easter season lasts for seven weeks and culminates in Pentecost, the festival that enacts the taking on of a new mission.

As we learn to live with the persistent effects of the coronavirus pandemic, we gratefully accept the transforming energy of the Holy Spirit, the eternal spirit of belonging that calls to us always in every circumstance.

As the robin in Rosetti’s poem breaks and cheers the unlovely rest of Winter’s pause, like the author, we can each ask ourselves --- and why not I?

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