My Jesus I love Thee

My Jesus, I Love Thee

My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I love Thee because Thou has first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree.
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

In mansions of glory and endless delight,
I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright;
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

William Ralph Featherston, 1864

Lead, kindly light

Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom,
Lead thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home,–
Lead thou me on!
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene,–one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor prayed that thou
Shouldst lead me on:
I loved to choose and see my path, but now
Lead thou me on!
I loved the garish days, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will: remember not past years.

So long thy power hath blessed me, sure it still
Will lead me on;
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone;
And with the morn those angel faces smile
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.

John Henry Newman
Here is a lovely adaptation by Audrey Assad:

Thy Mercy Free

Out of the depths we cry to thee.
Lord, hear us, we implore thee.
Bend down thy gracious ear to us.
Let our prayer come before thee!
On our misdeeds in mercy look
O deign to blot them from thy book,
And let us come before thee.

Thy sov’reign grace and boundless love
Show thee, O Lord, forgiving.
Our purest thoughts and deeds but prove
Sin in our hearts is living.
None guiltless in thy sight appear.
All who approach thy throne must fear,
And humbly trust thy mercy.

Thou canst be merciful while just.
This is our hope’s foundation.
In thy redeeming grace we trust.
O grant us thy salvation.
Upheld by thee we stand secure.
Thy word is firm, thy promise sure,
And we rely upon thee.

Like those who watch for midnight’s hour
To hail the dawning morrow,
We wait for thee, we trust thy pow’r,
Unmoved by doubt or sorrow.
So let thy people hope in thee,
And they shall find thy mercy free,
And thy redemption plenteous.

Martin Luther

Let your God love you

Let Your God Love You

Be silent.
Be still.
Alone.
Empty
Before your God.
Say nothing.
Ask nothing.
Be silent.
Be still.
Let your God look upon you.
That is all.
God knows.
God understands.
God loves you
With an enormous love,
And only wants
To look upon you
With that love.
Quiet.
Still.
Be.

Let your God—
Love you.

Edwina Gateley

I am bending my knee

I Am Bending My Knee

Originally from the Carmina Gadelica I, 3
Taken from Esther de Waal, editor, The Celtic Vision (Liguori, MO: Liguori/Triumph, 1988, 2001), p. 7.

I am bending my knee
In the eye of the Father who created me,
In the eye of the Son who purchased me,
In the eye of the Spirit who cleansed me,
In friendship and affection.
Through Thine own Anointed One, O God,
Bestow upon us fullness in our need,
Love towards God,
The affection of God,
The smile of God,
The wisdom of God,
The grace of God,
The fear of God,
And the will of God
To do on the world of the Three,
As angels and saints
Do in heaven;
Each shade and light,
Each day and night,
Each time in kindness,
Give Thou us Thy Spirit.

The “Little People”

For the “Little People,” Before the Blessed Sacrament

Tiny round God,
weak and small, You could fit in my hand, yet
all the span of the universe cannot contain You
all the powers of the cosmos cannot resist You.
You have made Yourself like those
who are close to Your Heart.

I carry them here with me today:
the “little people
invisible to the mighty but not to the Almighty.
The world reckons them a zero:
without wealth, without power,
without name, without face,
without arms, without voice.

But You too, Lord, are a Zero,
a white, wheaten Cipher,
a Figure on whom
they have failed to reckon.

When You foes seek to multiply
You will invade their equation
and bring them to naught:
You will nullify their pride,
annihilate their power,
annul their schemes
of domination.
But those of lowly degree
You will stand beside
to magnify.

Tiny round God,
blessed are You
who gather the poor
into the ring of Your riches,
the empty
into the cup of Your fullness,
the weak
into the crown of Your might,
the sorrowing
into the circle of Your dance.
Blessed are You,
encompassing Your people
without beginning, without end,
in Your love.

~Paul Thigpen

The King shall come

The King shall come when morning dawns,
And light triumphant breaks;
When beauty gilds the eastern hills,
And life to joy awakes.

O brighter than that glorious morn
Shall this fair morning be,
When Christ, our King, in beauty comes,
And we his face shall see.

The King shall come when morning dawns,
And earth’s dark nigh is past;
O haste the rising of that morn,
The day that aye shall past.

The King shall come when morning dawns,
And light and beauty brings:
Hail, Christ the Lord!  Thy people pray,
Come quickly, King of kings.

Advent visitation

A beautiful Advent Sunday-poem from Luci Shaw:

Advent visitation

Even from the cabin window I sensed the wind’s
contagion begin to infect the rags of leaves.
Then the alders gilded to it, obeisant, the way

angels are said to bow, covering their faces with
their wings, not solemn, as we suppose, but
possessed of a sudden, surreptitious hilarity.

When the little satin wind arrived,
I felt it slide through the cracked-open door
(A wisp of prescience? A change in the weather?),

and after the small push of breath–You
entering with your sir of radiant surprise,
I the astonished one.

These still December mornings
I fancy I live in a clear envelope of angels
like a cellophane womb.  Or a soap bubble,

the colors drifting, curling.  Outside
everything’s tinted rose, grape, turquoise,
silver–the stones by the path, the skin of sun

on the pond ice, at night the aureola of
a pregnant moon, like me, irridescent,
almost full-term with light.

The great yearning

This Sunday poem may not strike you immediately as a poem for Advent, but as you read it, I think you’ll see why I chose it.  It’s a favorite poem of mine by one of my favorite writers, Anthony Esolen. I do hope that you savor and relish it as much as I do upon reading it.  Let’s never go back to Egypt, but continue to yearn with a great yearning.

When Israel Went Out of Egypt

When Israel went out of Egypt

Behind the spattered doorposts I recall
My elders muttering prayers of terror when
Night and the angel of destruction fell
On the firstborn of Egypt; heard the cry
Of the heart-broken women like sea-birds
Calling over the waste; saw the black surge
Smash the great army that pursued us still,
As a child smashes sticks; saw, looking back,
Strange residue upon the settling sea,
Robes and plumes, white faces, fingers at the reins,
The upturned necks of horses lodged in mud
And broken chariot wheels; stood at the mountain
When thunder made my people hide their eyes
And the lone prophet sojourned to the height
To bring us back the great gift of the Law;
Wavered a moment when the earth beneath
Cracked, and devoured the rebels whole; bent double
To scramble up the grains of what-is-this,
Seethed them and baked the paste into sweet wafers;
Swung the good sword at the Amalekite,
Well while the prophet held his old arms high,
But when they fell, our favor fell with them.
I have known all these things and more, far more;
Yet sometimes when the evening sun’s at rest
On the long sands behind, there comes again
A hint of something subtle on the air,
A slither of a scent, or festal song;
Come to me only, though a guilty glance
Now and again from one of my old friends
Betrays a similar thought: for there are times,
God help us, there are times when we might trade
The holy Torah and the heaven-dropped food
And all the fiery wonders of the desert,
The promise of a land we have not seen,
For wheat in ear upon the river’s mud,
A pot of lamb stew rich in leeks and onions,
And brown girls wearing no more than a sash
Smiting the tambourine upon the hip;
For slavery too had something for the slave.
Then the sun sets; we huddle in our tents,
We bow, we pray; and the great yearning falls
Like dew upon the Sabbath eve: to hold
Close to our hearts that choice that is not ours,
That He would dwell among us, Israel,
Bound among all the nations to be free.