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Salubong : the Meeting

Salubong: a Tagalog word meaning "meeting" or "encounter" is used to describe a ceremony that takes place at 3 am on Easter Sunday morning in the Philippines. (Tagalog is a Philippino dialect). The statues of Christ and Our Lady, dressed in black robes are carried from neighbouring parish churches. When they meet each other, the robes are turned inside out and become gold.

While the other women chattered to the angels,
I walked away, I could not bear to stay.
Then I saw him tending lilies in the garden -
his father’s favourite flower. I heard him say:

"Woman". That’s the name he always called me;
not ’Mother", "Mum" or "Mam"; that’s not his way.
But he said it with such tenderness and passion,
it will linger in my ear ’til Judgment Day.

He clasped me in his arms - I felt his heartbeat -
and my body, which ’til then had been mere clay,
was…energised - I hope that word’s appropriate -
But I knew it now would never know decay.

I’m just a simple soul, but when the angels
took our black cloaks and rinsed them gold and white,
I remembered that dark night he held an oil lamp
above our heads and cried, "I am the light!"

And so he was! The light was in him, of him,
Brighter than a thousand lamps within their bowl.
He blazed more bright than pillar in the desert.
He shone in every crevice of my soul.

He wanted me to mother all his people,
who otherwise might find his light too bright:
"Gently filter it through your maternal fingers;
make it sweeter, but no less dim, to their weak sight."

I said to him what I’d said to the angel:
"According to your word, let it be done.
Through my fingers I will sift your light forever.
For you, I would do anything, O my son"

Simon Grainthorn