13 February 2008

Here and There

The length of every Lent commemorates
Our Saviour's forty days and forty nights
Of fasting in the wilderness, and waits
Till Garden of Gethsemane invites
Us back to Paradise: paid for and won
Only by Second Adam, God the Son.

It rained upon the earth for forty days
And forty nights it rained upon the earth,
God sets his bow in heaven to amaze
Us by the beauty of His promise: worth
So much is each new rainbow by its meaning
That viewing it we reach for Truth, keep gleaning.

Moses for forty days and forty nights
Stayed fasting in the mount, obeyed the Lord
In setting down His law to set to rights
The sons of men: The Son of God's accord
With the mosaic pattern did far more
By Love fulfilling it than writ of yore.

For forty days and nights it did not rain,
The people hot got water on the brain,
The prophet prayed and it displayed again: Selah!

~John Bradburne, 1978

Copyright to this poem is owned or controlled by The John Bradburne Memorial Society

Third Order Franciscan, mystic, poet and friend of lepers. Born in England in 1921, John Bradburne served with the Gurkhas in Malaya and Burma during World War II. A Pauline like conversion led him to become a pilgrim seeker, first with the Benedictines, then the Carthusians, but remained a layman to the end. His search for God's will led him through England, Europe and the Holy Land, mostly on foot. In 1962 he went to "seek a cave" in Zimbabwe. Instead he found Mutemwa Leprosy Settlement. There he tended a flock of 80 leprosy patients with loving care, laying down his life for them on September 5th, 1979.

At his funeral, a pool of blood was seen beneath his coffin. On opening it, there was no evidence where the blood had come from. However, an oversight was revealed: John had not been clothed in the habit of St. Francis, as is the privilege of members of the Third Order, and had been John's wish. The habit was found and John was clothed in it.

Since his death there have been many signs of his sanctity: reports of miracles, claims of cures, as well as many answers to prayer. More important, many have turned to God through John's extraordinary example.

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