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Palm Sunday

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Blog - Palm Sunday

Sunday 17 April 2011

This is a picture I took last summer while on holiday in Subiaco, near Rome.  It is part of the fresco cycle on the walls of the upper church of St Benedict, over the cave where Saint Benedict spent three years as a hermit in about 500AD, before he gathered a group of like-minded followers as the first monks in Western Christendom.  The fresco itself dates from the mid 1200s.  Apart from the central action of Christ entering Jerusalem on a donkey, as told in the gospels, I love the frantic cutting down of branches in the background, and the very deliberate laying on the ground of clothing under the donkey’s path.

As the donkey says in Chesterton’s poem, in response to those who mock its curious appearance and weird sound:

Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.

One far fierce hour and sweet … the first Palm Sunday.