XLV. My Lord, how cruel my heart, which You should own!

Then the boy’s father cried out, “I do believe, help my unbelief!” Mk 9:24

My Lord, how cruel my heart, which You should own!

How swift to overlook what You endured:

The nails; the whips that cut, exposing bone;

The mock’ry and the jeers that to sin lured.

Yet You sinned not, while I, ungrateful fool,

Give into fear of worldly honor lost.

O surely, love of Love should be my rule,

Whate’er the consequence, whate’er the cost!

Too worldly to seek God, I cling to earth.

Too timid to defend You, oft I stray.

I beg to love You more, to know Your worth,

For I do love You, more than I can say.

To know I disappoint You rends my soul:

Far better rent it be than hard and whole!

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XLIV. I long for mission, seeking Him to serve

But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved. -Mt 24:13

I long for mission, seeking Him to serve.

How then fear I the tasks He may appoint?

He gives to need, beyond all we deserve,

For with His very Spirit He anoints.

Already I’ve His call: “Become a saint.”

That’s work enough, vocation sure and firm,

A destiny to turn a spirit faint

And force the human heart in doubt to squirm.

I rightly doubt myself; shall I doubt Him?

When I beg Him to lead, would He say nay?

He knows my task on earth; to me ‘tis dim.

To Him I’ve recourse. Courage, then, and pray!

Cling fast to Him in prayer, and humbly trust.

He’ll guide my blindness, but keep hold I must.

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XLIII. Lord, was I on Your mind that fearful day?

“Those passing by reviled him, shaking their heads and saying, ‘You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself, if you are the Son of God, (and) come down from the cross!’” Mt 27:39-40

Lord, was I on Your mind that fearful day?

When on the road You fell, so weak and pained,

For my renewal did you weep, or pray,

Aware that my strength, too, has greatly waned?

Did you look to the times I was to fall,

A failure seeming at all tasks You gave,

Until in me Your Spirit would recall

That You rose and marched on, my soul to save?

When on the Cross You hung, and fought to breathe,

And could have saved Yourself, but jeers ignored,

Was it with truest life my soul to wreathe

That you remained in writhing torment moored?

Lord, take my heart; its cruel resistance shred!

To disappoint You in Your love I dread.

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XLII. Who am I, Lord, to hold onto the past?

“For you did not receive a spirit of slavery, to fall back into fear. But you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, ‘Abba, Father!’” –Rm 8:15

Who am I, Lord, to hold onto the past,

And taunt myself o’er failures you forgave?

Why should I, with my eye on mirror cast,

See not a child of God, but sin’s lost slave?

Your arms about me tenderly You weave.

Each day Your love You whisper in my ear.

What right have I to worthlessness to cleave?

You proved what I am worth with nails and spear.

Falls can’t define me when my soul You lift;

Nor weakness, when Your strength slew Death for me.

Of Your true vision make me now a gift,

That through Your eyes my value I might see.

You hold me precious. Precious, then, am I.

With dignity I’ll act, in hope raised high.

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XLI. How truly late I’ve loved You, faithful God!

Late have I loved Thee, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new! –St. Augustine, Confessions

How truly late I’ve loved You, faithful God!

How long I saw Your beauty and Your grace

And gave but part of me, ignoring prod

To seek you truly: Ignorance most base!

Unknowing was my heart, but guiltless, no:

And still it chooses comfort; Love ‘twill spurn,

Nostalgic for its old, accustomed woe

Until such hour it fully t’ward You turn.

O God of Goodness, turn it. Make it Yours.

Permit that I may praise Your patience sweet,

The patience that gives hope of heaven’s shores

And trust that my sore heart shall mercy meet.

For gentle are You, and Your mercy true

Gives sinners strength to strive to love anew.

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XL. When years ago, so far from hope and home

“So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Mt 5:48

When years ago, so far from hope and home,

I felt adrift and begged, Lord, your direction,

Unsure of when to move or where to roam,

I had no thought of seeking Your perfection.

I longed for a career, a life on earth,

Stability in temporal affairs.

I knew your knowledge of me knows no dearth,

And begged for you to guide me through all snares.

You heard me, and led not to wealth or fame,

Nor to profession in which I excel,

But drew me to Yourself, my heart to tame,

My love to waken, dread fear to dispel.

What mercy! What a treasure, and unsought!

I longed for You, though sin fast held me caught.

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XXXIX. What God is this, who e’er ignores my pleas

“Your Father knows what you need before you ask him. This is how you are to pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name…” Mt 6:8-9

What God is this, who e’er ignores my pleas

Each time I beg for trinkets I must own?

What God, I say, who drops me to my knees

To teach me I’m not God, but ash and bone?

What God, who offers comfort when I’m pained

Yet sets a harsh road Godward I’d not choose?

Who, as a man, no life of pleasure feigned

But offered cross with joy? Can this be ruse?

What God would die in agony awash,

So I could know at death He’s by my side?

Would let me suffer, greater ills to quash?

To draw my faith, His hand would sometimes hide?

A God, I say, who in love seeks my good

More than my pleasure: as a Father would.

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