23 June 2010

Vigil of the Birth of the Baptizer

O house of Zachary greeted with a voice
The barren one’s infant leaps in her womb
Reproach removed, thy child doth rejoice
‘Tis the Ark, carrying the Victor over the tomb

Elizabeth, thy husband at the altar of incense
Met with great fear the angel hailed as Gabriel
Zachary, thy prayer has been heard, hence
Your wife bears a son, thinkest thou surreal

Armed with the spirit and power of Elias
His voice in the wilderness will cry for penance
More than a prophet, your son, and pious
Thy disbelief has reduced thee to silence

O priestly voice cut off from the outside world
Hear the inner Voice of God speaking to thee
His plan of salvation is about to be unfurled
Thy son preparing the way for this mystery

At thy house is the blessed who has believed
For three months she will stay with thy wife
She too, although a Virgin, has conceived
And she shall bring forth the Bread of Life

O house of Zachary thy kindred greets thy son
Circumcised before witnesses more than a few
Isaias foretold of this child of God’s creation
The dividing line of Testaments Old and New

What shall he be called, a kinfolk’s name no less
Zachary, the name given to his father the priest
Nay, the pronouncement of angelic lips: Ioannes
His name be, on locusts and honey shall he feast

Benedictus Dominus Deus Israel, Zachary speaks
For salvation from our enemies is made present
Ninety-nine may be safe, but one lost He seeks
Whether that be man or woman, rich or peasant

You, my son, prophet of the Appeaser of wrath
Prepare ye the way for heaven to meet earth
From the desert shalt thou make straight His path
This Child of Spirit presented by Virgin birth

The repentant shall come to thee to be baptized
The Jordan shall hear many confessions of guilt
And now comes to thee prophecies now realized
The Cornerstone on which the house of God is built

I should be baptized by Thee, the precursor pleads
For within Thee there is found not spot or stain
Suffer it be so now, fulfilling all justice’s needs
That which I do My heavenly Father ordain

Thou brood of vipers O Pharisee and Sadducee
Think ye not Abraham an enemy of the Lamb
Faith’s Father longed to hear: Ecce Agnus Dei
And see Him Who’ll be sacrificed for thy scam

The Tetrarch’s fear renders the baptizer incarcerated
The femme fatale of Herodias, a promise discussed
Dance for me and I give thee till thy heart is sated
The man of God beheaded because of Herod’s lust

The netherworld where waits Patriarch and Prophet
Ye men of God, let us continue with prayer and fasting
For He Whom thou hast preached of, thus have I met
He will soon join us here and take us to life everlasting