Suit the action to the word, the word to the action, with this special observance that you o'erstep not the modesty of nature. For anything so overdone is from the purpose of playing, whose end, both at the first and now, was and is to hold, as ’twere, the mirror up to nature, to show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure.
Hamlet Act III, Scene 2
Once, long ago, our Noble Lord was hung upon a tree and died thereon. Strange to relate at certain seasons the tree and Him upon it are made present among us. At such times His lovers are mysteriously enabled to drink His blood as if it were wine and to eat His flesh as if it were bread gaining great strength thereby.
For the most part though our Noble Lord is hidden from our senses. During these times two great and rival companies re-enact His Passion for our benefit. These are the Dark Companions, who are always the most numerous, and the Companions of the Light, who are always led by a most wondrous sweet Lady.
The Dark Companions fully and perfectly reconstruct among us the instruments of our Lord’s death. They are the most perfect liars, they are filled with envy and spite, they are consumed with anger. Of sympathy they are naked but nonetheless they are well clad, covering themselves with mockery and cursing.With all this and much more besides they present the play “The 50 Dark Moments of our Lord's Passion.” Always they receive the just reward for their performance.
Whenever the Dark Companions appear together assembled the Companions of the Light timidly run away. Presently though they are rallied by their womenfolk, and by one woman above all other women. Led by her they enter into the heart of our Lord’s Passion. They make present among us most perfect love, patience, grief at the evils men do and steadfast but tender endurance. Their play is “The 50 Moments of Light" It is not always obvious to human eyes but it is certain that they too receive the just reward for their performance.
When these plays are not being played the actors are among us as ordinary folk. It is a passing strange thing but whether acting or not the Companions alway remain true to their parts. Darkness never departs from the words and actions of the Dark Companions. When not being professional liars they are amateur ones; doing it, as it were, for the fun of the thing. The Companions of the Light for their part likewise are always loving, never counting either the cost or the benefit to themselves.
While it is true that the Dark ever claims the most numerous following a thing of great joy and wonder occurs from time to time. Moved by continually reflecting upon our Noble Lord in His agony and upon our most sweet Lady at His feet there are some who forsake darkness and become Companions of the Light. They abandon envy, anger and hate and humbly seek to follow the path of patient loving endurance. There is tremendous rejoicing and celebration when even but a single one of the Dark Company takes this step.
While the Dark Companions ever brood upon past wrongs and present jealousies it is not so in the Light Company. They never reproach their new companions with the deeds of their Dark past. They, and the Lady above all the rest, are ever gracious and kind to them. Our Noble Lord does not withhold even His Body and Blood, it is said indeed that He shed His most precious blood especially and above all for those who have walked in the darkness.
When our story will come to an end I do not know. But of this I am certain; victory will belong not to the many but to the few. The key to this victory will not be the power to inflict suffering and death but rather the power to endure it with patience, kindness and love.
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The painting is Crucifixion Triptych by Rogier Van der Weyden