Good Friday

Matthias Grünewald. Isenheim altarpiece, central panel. 1506-1515


O, my black soul, now thou art summoned
By sickness, Death’s herald and champion ;
Thou’rt like a pilgrim, which abroad hath done
Treason, and durst not turn to whence he’s fled ;
Or like a thief, which till death’s doom be read,
Wisheth himself deliver’d from prison,
But damn’d and haled to execution,
Wisheth that still he might be imprisoned.
Yet grace, if thou repent, thou canst not lack ;
But who shall give thee that grace to begin ?
O, make thyself with holy mourning black,
And red with blushing, as thou art with sin ;
Or wash thee in Christ’s blood, which hath this might,
That being red, it dyes red souls to white.

John Donne, Holy Sonnet IV


Today, March 25th, happens also to be the feast of St. Dismas, the good thief, the penitent one crucified with Christ. Like Dismas, we beg the Lord to remember us—and all our dead—when He comes into His kingdom.



XIR71774 Credit: Crucifixion from the Isenheim Altarpiece, detail of Christ's right hand, c.1512-16 (oil on panel) by Matthias Grunewald (Mathis Nithart Gothart) (c.1480-1528) Musee d'Unterlinden, Colmar, France/ Giraudon/ The Bridgeman Art Library Nationality / copyright status: German / out of copyright ADDITIONAL USAGE RESTRICTION: NOT TO BE USED FOR CARDS, POSTERS OR ADVERTISING