Who says we won’t see Christ this year?

A poem which emerged online in last year’s locked-down Holy Week helps us to find God all around, writes Gemma Simmonds CJ.

‘Christ plays in ten thousand places, lovely in limbs and lovely in eyes not his.’ The Jesuit spiritual tradition, powerfully articulated by poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, reminds us that the spiritual life consists in ‘finding God in all things’. When Jesus himself told us that ‘whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, you do it to me’, then the reverse must also be true: that whatever others do for us, it is Jesus we encounter in their service.

Lockdown during Holy Week and Easter 2020 were particularly painful moments of loneliness and alienation for many. In the Latino world, where the Holy Week processions are part religious ceremony, part cultural reinforcement, the forbidding of public gatherings was traumatic. This poem, attributed to Father Alvaro Saenz from Spain, emerged on the internet via the Archbishop of Lima, who read it accompanied by a video reminding his people that Christ’s Passion in all its aspects was being played out before their very eyes.1 I lost count of how many times I watched the video and listened to the poem, with the sound of Nearer my God to Thee played in the background. It helped me remember to look for and find God with Us all around me.

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