Variations on a Theme: The Seven Rejoices of Mary

A Letter on Letters
May 20, 2010
On the Foundations of My Christianity
June 6, 2010

In a somber mood last night, I sat listening to Loreena McKennitt’s “The Seven Rejoices of Mary.” Originally an Irish hymn, it struck me as both simple and profound, melancholic and hopeful. The original text speaks of Mary’s joy in watching Jesus grow from child to adult, encompassing all the miracles and sacrifices that became a part of his work on earth. As I listened to the story unfold, I wanted nothing more than to have some participation in it—to draw some parallel to my own life. Inspired by Paganini’s endless Variations on a Theme, I conflated the two to create these Seven Rejoices of Jeff.

For the song by Loreena McKennitt: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gx2Mc5K9VO0

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The first good joy that once I had, it was that gift of one:
From out of womb and into light my humanness was spun.

The next good joy that once I had, it was the gift of two:
Adventures on the senses led to all things good and new.

The next rejoice that once I had, it was the gift of three:
To make the will collaborate, and gloried, set me free.

The next good joy that once I had, it was that gift of four:
On eventides among my friends to spread the good Lord’s lore.

To spread the good Lord’s lore, good man:
And blessed may he be.
Sing you Father, Son, and Holy Ghost
For all Eternity.

The next good joy that once I had, it was the gift of five:
To shut my shame, and from my heart Thy brotherhood contrive.

The next rejoice that once I had, it was the gift of six:
How at His feet, now joined I He, upon His crucifix.

The next good joy that e’er I had, it was the gift of seven:
To walk Thy way, unceasingly, upon the gates of heaven.

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