Saturday, December 01, 2007
...and prayer for a brother on his birthday.
Excerpts from Monna Innominata by Christina Rossetti-
O my heart's heart, and you who are to me
More than myself myself, God be with you,
Keep you in strong obedience leal and true
To Him whose noble service setteth free,
Give you all good we see or can foresee,
Make your joys many and your sorrows few,
Bless you in what you bear and what you do,
Yea, perfect you as He would have you be.
So much for you; but what for me, dear friend?...
Trust me, I have not earned your dear rebuke;
I love, as you would have me, God the most;
Would lose not Him, but you, must one be lost,
Nor with Lot's wife cast back a faithless look
Unready to forego what I forsook;
This say I, having counted up the cost,
This, tho' I be the feeblest of God's host,
The sorriest sheep Christ shepherds with His crook
Yet while I love my God the most, I deem
That I can never love you overmuch;
I love him more, so let me love you too;
Yea, as I apprehend it, Love is such
I cannot love you if I love not Him,
I cannot love Him if I love not you.
Love builds the house on rock and not on sand,
Love laughs what while the winds rave desperately
And who hath found love's citadel unmanned?
And who hath held in bonds love's liberty?
My heart's a coward tho' my words are brave--
We meet so seldom, yet we surely part
So often; there's a problem for your art!
Still I find comfort in his Book, who saith,
Tho' jealousy be cruel as the grave,
And death be strong, yet love is strong as death.
If I could trust mine own self with your fate,
Shall I not rather trust it in God's hand?
Without Whose Will one lily doth not stand,
Nor sparrow fall at his appointed date;
Who numbereth the innumerable sand,
Who weighs the wind and water with a weight,
To Whom the world is neither small nor great,
Whose knowledge foreknew every plan we planned.
Searching my heart for all that touches you,
I find there only love and love's goodwill
Helpless to help and impotent to do,
Of understanding dull, of sight most dim;
And therefore I commend you back to Him
Whose love your love's capacity can fill