Relics and the Resurrection

“…       Every altar in our churches bears

a holy fragment – bit of bone, most often –

as testament to the uncommon and genuine

honor in which we hold the body – even

shattered bits of it, even when its habitant has,

for all appearances, gone hence. Each mute relic

serves as token both of death and of life’s appalling

ubiquity – even there. It helps to bear in mind

the curious and irreparable harm the Crucified

inflicted upon the nether realm when graved

He filled it with Himself, and in so doing, burst

its meager hold and burst its hold on us – all

of which has made the memory of death lately

less grim. Gehenna is empty, and tenders

these days an empty threat. Remember that.”

(Scott Cairns, Philokalia: New & Selected Poems, pg. 41)