Monday of Holy Week Meditation (a Masterpiece)

This is one of the great masterpieces of the Hudhra, exemplifying the best aspects of Aramaic as a language, combining Scripture and theology, salvation history, symbolism and poetry. As such, it’s one of the most difficult and frustrating things I’ve ever translated. It’s so compact that, on average, I need 3 English words to translate 1 Aramaic word, so the translation suffers from relative wordiness even though I tried my best to keep it similar to the original even in style.

Verse 1 sets up the battle between sin and God using the image of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Cross of Christ. “Wood undoes wood; Fruit cuts off fruit, the killer by Life.” That is, the Cross defeats the sin caused by the tree in Eden, and Christ, who hung on the Cross, becomes the new Fruit which we eat to undo the destruction caused by sin – namely, the death gained through sin becomes new life in Christ.

The second and third verses are more suggestive yet, stating without making explicit that this salvation is visible everywhere to those with eyes to see “the symbols of his mysteries.” This is not limited either to the Bible or to those who are innocent of the Fall, since these symbols are “in Eden and in the world.” Indeed, they are both in Scripture and in nature itself, as the third verse explains. More specifically, the prophets, priests, and kings of the Old Testament foreshadow Christ’s truth, forgiveness, and authority.

(- Blessed is he whom the prophets signified.)
* It has come to us by his love:
the Blessed Tree.
Wood undoes wood;
Fruit cuts off fruit,
the killer by Life.
* In Eden and in the world,
the Parable of our Lord;
who is able to gather
the symbols of his mysteries,
that are signified all in one.
* It is written in the Scriptures;
it is signed within natures;
his truth in the prophets;
his forgiveness in the high priests;
his crown woven in the kings.

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