Zack Hemsey Vengeance lyrics analysis: Jesus and Mary. Nothing more important.

Zack Hemsey wrote some great lyrics back in the day, with what motivation I have no idea whatsoever. But that’s sometimes the purpose of some poetry, letting what you have written be available as a kind of mirror which will assist the reader in seeing where he stands in the great scheme of things. Readers can inscape all they want.

For myself, listening to this has grabbed my attention, being both repulsed and attracted to the words at the same time, knowing that I was NOT quite letting the words mirror what was happening within myself. But the other day, listening once again to Zack’s masterpiece, all the reality of my own life before God and neighbor, and Satan, rushed upon me. I was mesmerized, not at any involvement of my own in all this, but by the fact that God so loved the world that He sent His only Son, not to condemn the world but that we might be saved through Him.

All are redeemed. But not all want to be saved. The martyrs, in solidarity with Jesus, their Altar, beg for vengeance from Jesus in heaven:

  • When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne; they cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before thou wilt judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon the earth?” Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been. When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale; the sky vanished like a scroll that is rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the generals and the rich and the strong, and every one, slave and free, hid in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand before it?” (Apocalypse 6:9-17)

Those are the sainted martyrs in heaven asking for vengeance mind you. Jesus agrees with their desire for vengeance, and promises that this will come about.

Are you ready? I’m ready! Jesus has already had vengeance by laying down His life on the Cross. That’s how He conquered, willing standing in our place, Innocent for the guilty, so as to have the right to forgive us, ripping us out of the clutches of Satan and the jaws of hell, so as to bring us through, with and in Himself to heaven.

What hit me the other day is that this isn’t Jesus, the Head of the Body (as Saint Paul describes the Church), but also the members of the Body of Christ with Him, as One, who recite these lyrics.

Before I die alone [My God! My God! Why have you abandoned me? This is a prayer made before the Father. The filial trust of Psalm 22 is so very magnificent.]
Let me have vengeance [What Jesus asks is vengeance over against Satan, who had destroyed everything outside of God but God. The punishment of sin on our part is death. In taking on that death, baiting us cynics to kill Him dead with such goodness and kindness and truth, he fulfilled His own justice, permitting Him to usurp our souls away from Satan. Jesus’ death is vengeance over against Satan.]
Before I die alone
I will have vengeance
Before I die alone
Let me have vengeance [We move from statement “I will” to “Let me”. This is the prayer on the Cross of Jesus.]
Before I die alone
I will have vengeance
Before I die alone
Before my time has gone [Jesus’ time on this earth, the time when He would lay down His life for us…]
There’s just one thing I have to do [Jesus is explaining the situation to us….]
Before the fire and stone [all of hell broken out on Calvary unto the Sepulcher in which Jesus was laid.]
Before your world is gone [our time on this earth…]
Have you some patience [He who endures to the end will be saved…]
Cuz I will have my vengeance [Praise to the Lamb of God who takest away the sins of the world.]
Before I die alone
Let me have vengeance
Before my time has gone
I will have vengeance
Before I die alone
Let me have vengeance
Before I die alone
I will have vengeance
Before I die alone
Let me have vengeance
I will have my vengeance
Before your world is gone
Before the fire and stone
Have you some patience
Cuz I will have my vengeance
Before I die alone (Before I die alone)
Before my time has gone (Before my time has gone)
Let me have vengeance
(I will) (I will) I will have vengeance
I will have vengeance

Thank you, Jesus, for having vengeance for us. Thank you, Mary, for being there with Him interceding for us that we might, having been redeemed, will also assent in God’s grace to be saved.

But, as I say, what struck me is that I, we, with Jesus, are saying all this in solidarity with Him over against Satan. I always knew that academically. But it just hit me so very, very personally the other day.

Put another way – I’m confessing my idiocy here – I’ve done plenty of exorcisms over against Satan in Jesus’ Holy Name and with the express mandate of the Church, the exorcism being a sacramental drawing on the merits of Christ and the saints. An exorcism is surely a kind of vengeance, right? An exorcism disestablishes the un-kingdom of Satan and helps to establish the Kingdom of God come among us. But having said that I must confess that only now has our Lord permitted me the tiniest personally felt (NOT that feelings are important!) glimpse into the friendship which He creates, in which He holds us, He having us with Him. This was quite opening up the soul for me.

And, just to say, it was Zack Hemsey’s Vengeance which was an occasion for this to come about. Ha! I love it. Thanks, Zack.

“And a sword your own soul will pierce that the thoughts of many may be revealed…”

This little glimpse of solidarity with Jesus in His vengeance I do not believe can be experienced (to use an inappropriate word) except if we are in solidarity with Mary, who, par excellence, is The Martyr begging our Lord for vengeance. Yes. Someone once asked me if there is a role for Mary that is greater that her motherhood. No, there is not. Mary is the Mother of God, the Mother of this Church Militant, our Mother by her begging for vengeance… now with us begging for vengeance, now that we, by her intercession and her Son’s grace, has become our mother.

3 Comments

Filed under Jesus, Mary

3 responses to “Zack Hemsey Vengeance lyrics analysis: Jesus and Mary. Nothing more important.

  1. Mark

    Fr. George, Any idea of why our Blessed Mother’s right hand is not bloodied?

  2. sanfelipe007

    Thanks be to God for these insights, Father. It fits with my merely mortal understanding of “vengeance is mine sayeth” the Lord.”

    On those intense occasions of temptation, when I would have, otherwise, been consumed by wrath, my GA reminded me that vengeance is the Lord’s alone. Each time I accepted this, the wrath would slowly subside and instead, my trust in the Lord grew in its place.

    It is absolutely true that the vessel with which a poor sinner may “draw” Mercy from the Lord is Trust. Let me be make bold to say that this “drawing”, as an action of free-will, must be like prayer, that is, a reaction to God’s love for us; and mysteriously our vessel, trust, grows so that the greater our trust, the greater amount of the Lord’s Mercy may be obtained, or, contained – I really do not know.

    We are loved by God, period. Trust begins when we say, in our hearts, “Yes, I will be loved by the Lord, and I shall (try to*)Love the Lord with all my heart, soul, and strength.”

    But what do i, a sinner, know? I only repeat what I have been told.

    * “Try to” honestly, isn’t this what is in our uncertain hearts when we realize it is time to repent?

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