Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Confirmed

In honor of our Confirmation Class who is receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation this evening from our Bishop, here is Rainer Maria Rilke's poem which was composed in Paris in May 1903. The photo is from the Liturgia website of Schola St. Cecile on the occasion of Confirmations at Saint-Eugène in France.

In white veils the confirmed enter
deeply into the new green of the garden
They have survived their childhood,
and what comes now will be something changed.

So let it come! Does not now the interim begin,
the wait for the next striking of the hour?
The festival is gone, and noises fill the house,
and more slowly the afternoon drags by...

That was an arising to the white gown
and then through the streets an adorned walking
and a church, cool inside like silk,
and the long candles were like avenues,
and all lights glittered like jewelry
gazed at by festive eyes.

And it was silent when the chant began:
like clouds it rose inside the dome
and grew bright in its descent; and softer
than rain fell into the white children.
And their white fluttered as in the breeze,
and grew lightly colored in its folds
and seemed to hold hidden flowers--:
flowers and birds, stars and strange figures
from an old ring of stories, far away.

And outside was a day of blue and green
with a shout of red at bright places.
The pond kept retreating in small waves,
and with the wind came a distant flowering
and sang of gardens outside at the city's edge.

It was as if things wreathed themselves,
they stood brightly--infinitely light and calm;
a feeling was in every housefront,
and many window opened up and shone.

~from The Book of Images, Rainer Maria Rilke