The Calm Before The Storm

The first few days of Holy Week always feel so strange to me.

The eager throngs and joyful Hosannas of Palm Sunday are behind us; the angry shouts, the betrayals, the torches of Holy Thursday, before. At this moment, though — waiting in this liturgical lull; this eye of the Lenten storm — all is quiet. But it’s a foreboding quiet, not a peaceful one.

A deathly quiet.

There’s something about this strange “betwixt-and-between” time that reminded me of a recent discovery: the work of Swiss photographer Pierre Pelligrini. He uses very long exposure times when shooting (mostly landscapes), and the resulting images are eerie, isolated, and unsettling, almost as though Nature’s holding her breath — in other words, a perfect encapsulation of my pre-Triduum mood.

By fortunate chance, I was listening to L’Arpeggiata’s performance of “Suda Sangue” as I flipped through Pelligrini’s images. It’s a Corsican folk song from their “Via Crucis” CD, and just about the perfect accompaniment — both because of its lyrical appropriateness, and because of its eerie (again with that word!) vocalizations:

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Suda Sangue il Redentore,
E non piangi o peccatore.
Miserere nostri, Domine,
Misrer nostri.

Sacre piaghe del mio Dio
Siate impresse nel cuor mio.
Miserere nostri, Domine,
Misrer nostri.

Blood flows from the redeemer’s brow,
Yet you do not weep, O sinner?
Have mercy upon us, Lord,
Have mercy upon us.

May the sacred wounds of my God
Be stamped upon my heart.
Have mercy upon us, Lord,
Have mercy upon us.

About Joseph Susanka

Joseph has been doing development work for institutions of Catholic higher education since graduating from Thomas Aquinas College in 1999. A grateful resident of Wyoming, he spends his free time exploring the beautiful Wind River Mountains, keeping track of his (currently) seven sons, being amazed by his (currently) lone daughter, and thanking his lucky stars for Netflix.