Thanks to Seal and Bishop Sheen? “A Kiss From A Rose”

Afternoon folks!  Frank from sick-bay here. And from the looks of it, Webster will be joining me here soon. We’re a couple of sick-bay commandos today, or so it seems. The flu bug or something. Heck, I think even our guest Allison has been under the weather. Be careful reading this because it appears to be communicable over the internet.

So, I’m lying here in bed and I pull Life of Christ by Bishop Fulton J. Sheen off my nightstand. I turn to the part in the early going of the book where he is writing about the early life of Christ. His life in Nazareth. The obedience He had for his earthly parents. How after He was “lost” at the temple at age twelve, and impressing the scholars with His questions and knowledge, he still went home with Joseph and Mary and lived obediently with them for 18 more years.

It’s a great story, and told masterfully by Bishop Sheen. What does this have to do with Seal and his song Kiss From A Rose? Probably nothing, but I ran across these words of the Bishop and it reminded me that Allison had asked in the comment section to my first post on Seal,

Now then . . . could you please explain the words of “Kiss on the rose” or whatever it is called? Seal seems like a good guy but his lyrics confound me.

I sent her something via e-mail that was incoherent, most likely.  So I’ll share a thought that I just read written by Bishop Sheen in 1958 and I’ll throw Seal’s video up for your enjoyment and commentary. The Bishop writes the following (bold highlights are mine):

For the next eighteen years, after the three-day loss(when he stayed behind at the temple) He Who had made the universe played the role of a village carpenter, a maker in wood.  The familiar nails and crossbeams in the shop would later on become the instruments of His torture; and he himself would be hammered to a tree.  One wonders why this long preparation for such a brief ministry of three years. The reason might very well be that he waited until the human nature which He had assumed had grown in age to full perfection, that He might then offer the perfect sacrifice to His Heavenly Father.

The farmer waits until the wheat is ripe before cutting it and subjecting it to the mill.  So He would wait until His human nature, which He had, reached its most perfect proportions and its peak of loveliness, before surrendering it to the hammers of the crucifiers and the sickle of those who would cut down the Living Bread of Heaven.

The newborn lamb was never offered in sacrifice, nor is the first blush of the rose cut to pay tribute to a friend. Each thing has its hour of perfection. Since He was the Lamb that could set the hour for His own sacrifice, since He was the Rose that could choose the moment of it’s cutting, He waited patiently, humbly, obediently, while He grew in age and grace and wisdom before God and man. Then He would say: “This is your Hour.” Thus the choicest wheat and the reddest wine would become the worthiest elements of sacrifice.

Listen to the lyrics, look at the album cover photograph (above) and use your imagination.  I don’t think this is about Batman Forever.  Take it away, Seal!

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  • Allison Salerno

    @Frank. Okay, you have sold me….Very powerful…coughing from my own sickbed, Allison

  • Jan

    Well Frank, I guess that's as fair an analysis of those lyrics as something I wrote using the song about a month ago. But, if I may be frank, (small f), I've always intrepreted the lyrics to have more of physical/sexual connotation, as in a young female coming into her 'womanhood.' He's the graying tower, she's the rose who has…blossomed, maybe? I guess I could be way off base here, but that's what it sounds like to me. Hope you all get well soon. I'm 'knocking on wood' around here…so far, so good.

  • Frank

    Hey Jan and all,I'm not even going to attempt to type this out, but here is a link from Thomas Mertons New Seeds of Contemplation to consider. The soul, masculine or feminine? Food for thought. Merton New Seeds of Contemplation: The Soul

  • Sandy

    Hi Frank,I'm not going to say whether the Bishop's analysis is correct or not, not in my pay grade to say (grins)… but I can say I've always found this sort of resonance and depth in Seal's songs. Another of Seal's songs that affects me quite deeply is "Prayer for the Dying." Anytime someone dies needlessly or due to political violence or from drugs or some wasteful thing, I invariably remember that song.Far as Merton, I definitely see the Spirit in this light of Sophia enveloping potential anima/animus he lays out. It also falls right in line with Tao yin/yang, which is not surprising either because of his experience.Get better soon. If you have the same thing I had, plentiful sleep should do the trick.

  • alicia

    I remember an interview with Seal from way back when, he was asked why he didn't print the lyrics of his songs in his albums. The reply was something along the lines of making it possible for people to hear what they needed to hear.

  • Frank
  • cathyf

    I've been thinking about this question a bit recently… Sure, Jesus would have faced lots of practical barriers if He started His public ministry when He was 12. But He certainly didn't have to wait until 30, either.So, ok, Sheen has lots of verbiage about perfection. But maybe it was simpler than that. Maybe He simply enjoyed being the town carpenter? I'm betting He had company, too. The child who would come in on the pretext of looking for wood scraps for a project, the housewife who was not really there just to talk about her furniture order, all of those in town who would have been drawn to Him. And then quietly sitting with His mom in the evenings…You know how there is always one house where all of the teenagers want to hang out? Where the kids come ostensibly to visit their friends, but they always seem to end up in the kitchen talking deep stuff with mom, or out in the garage solving the world's problems with dad? Do you think that the Holy Family's house was that one in Nazareth? Maybe there weren't too many quiet evenings!I bet they took in "strays" too. Cats, dogs — and people. The girl thrown out of her house for getting pregnant, the traveler down on his luck, you know the type. I imagine Him looking around their house, and then looking at his mother teasingly, "Woman, do you have to take in every stray that wanders by?" To which she teases back, knowing that He had invited more of them than she, anyway, "Well I did take you in when that angel showed up with the outrageous story!"

  • Sandy

    Yes, I see the comparison especially in the last poem. Then again, I think I always saw it.

  • Sandy

    Just to sweeten this discussion… today the Vatican press released its top 10 list. the primitive link.

  • Frank

    No problem. How about this one from The Times,?The Vatican Top Ten

  • Sandy

    That's a wonderful link! The story is much more expansive there. I have to confess I'm still stunned about Fleetwood Mac and Santana. I'm wondering what gives… not that I mind, just wondering what gives!