Now am I a resident in the street called Love Street,
That river of dust which flows around the Beloved’s feet.
Isaiah told the dust-dwellers to arise and sing.
But because I remain in the dust my songs take wing.
To where else than dust would you go to find the lord of hearts—
For dust is cups that catch his blood which drips from the world’s darts?
Blood is of the First Supper, which is of time and place;
At the Last is poured the pure wine of the Master’s grace.
Our unending sorrow is our reward, for our tears
Enhance the Beloved’s beauty—or so it appears.
The truth is our happiness only reflects his bliss;
The lover is the shadow of what the Beloved is.
And where else can a shadow dwell but in the dust?
Of what else can love’s singer tell but love’s sweet trust?
We begin here with a serviceable definition of ‘Love Street’, the river of dust around the feet of the Beloved.
Isaiah 26:19 exhorts to “Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust” meaning the dead will arise, but Francis asks to remain below the Beloved’s feet. From such abasement alone can come his song. There our poverty helps us to share in the sufferings of the offering of the God-Man. Here is no soaring into prophetic vision.
He plays with the idea of the Mass which is a renewal of and participation in Jesus’ Last Supper, which itself is a symbol of the ongoing sacrifice of the Son of God. He calls the pain the ‘First Supper’, while the Last Supper is the ecstatic wine of Presence transcending time and space. There is also a hint of the special wine transformed by Jesus at the marriage feast at Cana (John, 2:1-12). Both our sorrow and joy reflect Him. Our contentment to be dust is a reflection of our trust. Baba’s advent has renewed the sacramental presence, available to all dust dwellers.