by John j. Boyer
Copyright © 1997-2016 | godtouches Digital Ministry, Inc. | www.godtouches.org | All rights reserved
May I tell of your love in song and in story,
For the tale of your love is the tale of your glory.
Amazing Advocate, the torch of grace,
Whom Jesus asked the Father for his friends.
Your holy light ilumes this darksome place.
Upon your warmth our very life depends<.
The souls you baptize with your living flame,
Who first have found the pearl so highly priced,
With burning zeal the wondrous news proclaim
Of life eternal at the side of Christ.
Indwelling Spirit, set my heart ablaze
With loove of God and neighbor stronger than
The strongest earthly wish of all my days,
And strongest urging human nature can.
Pray in the hearts of those you set aflame
With ardent cries that language cannot frame.
* * *
You are the tiny mustard seed
Your Father took and planted on the earth,
Counting for little to the world indeed,
Yet dwarfing all the kings in future worth.
You are the tiny bit of yeast
The Spirit buries deep within our hearts,
In hearts that differ little from the beast.
And yet your presence spreads to all our parts.
You are the single grain of wheat
Which fell upon the ground and seemed to die.
Yet you are he who cannot know defeat.
Your fruit shall ever grow and multiply.
In you the humblest and the highest meet.
In you the world is made and made complete.
* * *
Father, I thank you. Son and Holy Spirit
You sent to save and guide the human race.
They came to us from love, not our merit
That we might some day see you face-to-face
Father, I thank you. All the things of earth
Are signposts pointing to your holy place.
Like signposts we must pass them by. Their worth
Is cheapened if enjoyed without your grace.
Father, I praise you. Fountainhead of life,
From whom proceed the Son and Spirit both,
In perfect love, with neither strain nor strife,
Unchanging, yet the source of birth and growth.
With thanks and praise and love your children gather
Adoring round you, crying "Abba, Father!"
To what shall I your love compare
Of all the things in earth and sky?
What reaches out to light and air,
And binds together low and high?
Your love resembles curving space, *
which holds all matter in its hand,
Whose fingers focus light's quick trace,
Whose curve can even time command.
Its cosmic web embraces all,
The wheels of stars, the grains of dust,
The airy atoms; great or small,
Nothing can escape its thrust.
Likewise your love embraces all:
Each angel, sparrow, seed and hair,
Each human soul despite its fall,
As though it were your only care.
* Gravity, but it wouldn't fit in the meter, and curving space is more poetic.
Why, Lord, have You created me
And all the rest of humankind?
A proud and sinful lot are we,
Though weak of body, soul and mind.
The universe obeys Your laws.
Your mind's impress it bears within.
Though we may think we see its flaws,
It cannot ever fail or sin.
The angels see You face to face;
Your vibrant life they bear within.
But those who sinned have spurned Your grace,
And shall not ever turn again.
So why have You created me,
My God, in Whom I move and live? I dare to ask You: Could it be
You wanted someone to forgive?
"What man among you with a hundred sheep
Would not, if he should find that one had strayed,
Enfold the others on the grassy steep
And seek that single one with heart dismayed?
"And when he found it would he not rejoice?
Not check its feet and limbs with patient care,
Not soothe its trembling fear with hand and voice,
And then upon his shoulders homeward bear?
"Arrived at home he would his neighbors call
Saying: 'Rejoice with me, for I have found
The sheep which I had lost!' The angels all
Rejoice with me and make a joyful sound
"Over a single sinner who repents
Far more than nine and ninety self-styled saints."
Jesus, meek and humble of heart,
Make my heart like yours.
Let wrath not reign in any part,
For only Love endures.
Jesus, joyful washer of feet,
Teach my heart to serve,
Not as a job I must complete,
But with a smile and verve.
Jesus, tender healer of ill,
Heal my heart of grief.
Your peace and joy and love instill,
And You Yourself as chief.
"Observe this widow, how her back is bent
From years of toil to earn a scanty crust
Washing the clothes of wealthy fops intent
on feasting grandly and the joys of lust.
"See now these others, standing tall and straight,
Their bodies manicured with perfect care,
Arrayed in garments for affairs of state,
With not an errant spot or speck or hair.
"These of their abundance have given so;
She of her penury has given little.
But all their lavishness is but for show,
While she has given all, her every tittle.
"Therefore I tell you, she is greatly blest,
For she has given more than all the rest."
* * *
This is my mother as she might have been,
Had she been childless and reduced to toil
To earn a scanty crust, the drudge of men
And women living off of heartless spoil.
Or like that widow of the town of nain,
Whose only son had died, whose sobs and tears
So moved my heart that I could not refrain
From granting her the hope of all the years.
And yet my mother's son shall also die.
But she will not despair. Her first assent
To God's eternal love shall magnify
His glory through the People's whole extent.
For she has given most and given best.
Therefore shall all the ages call her blest.
When the apostle to the Gentiles wrote
His ode to love, he said what love is not,
But first of all its virtues, most to note,
He cited patience, which the world forgot.
And when he came to reckon up the fruits
Bestowed on those whose birth is from above:
Here, too, of all the outward attributes,
Patience was foremost as the sign of love.
Patience is peaceful waiting till the time has come
To act, then acting strongly, waiting with respect
While creatures grow and till the Lord shall come,
While doing what we can, without neglect.
Measure your love with patience as the rod,
Patience with self, with others and with God.
(To the tune of "creation's Lord, We Give Thee Thanks".)
O God of love, we sing Thy praise
That we are in Thine image made,
To walk with Thee in all our ways,
In perfect love and unafraid.
To cultivate this wondrous earth,
A garden ringed with desert space,
Thou gavest us as home and hearth,
While knowing we would flout Thy grace.
And yet, where sin did so abound,
Thy love and grace abounded more.
Old death in Thee its Master found,
And with its mace erased the score.
Thy new creation, burnished bright,
We even more Thy likeness bear:
The earth's true salt, the world's true light,
We venture forth Thy love to share.
(To the tune of "O God, our Help in Ages Past")
O God, the skies Thy glory shout,
And Earth proclaims Thy love.
Thy handiwork is all about,
Around, below, above.
More lasting than a house of stone,
Thy Church is built on rock.
Sufficient is Thy Word alone
For strength in ev'ry shock.
Before the stars in splendor shown,
Or space received its frame,
While time itself was yet unknown,
Thou wert, and art, the same.
The flow of time from start to end
Thou viewest at a glance;
Thy creatures on Thy love depend
In ev'ry moment's dance.
All time for us is as a flood
That sweeps all things away.
But if we love and seek the good,
To Thee we come to stay.
O God, the skies Thy glory shout,
And Earth proclaims Thy love,
And we, with hearts and minds devout,
For Thee affirm our love.
Shall I conclude that daily joys
of beauty, feeling, thought and breath
Are nothing more than pretty toys
To pass the time 'twixt birth and death?
Or think of all of them as snares,
Or toothy jaws with poisoned bait,
To trap my soul in worldly cares
And drag me through the nether gate?
Oh no! for You have better ends
in mind for these delightful things.
They mark the rutted road that wends
Through desert wastes devoid of springs.
As signposts to the lasting city
We must, however, pass them by
Without a sense of selfish pity
That soon this fleeting breath shall fly.
For when it does our spirits rise,
Awaking from a childish dream,
And dwell with You beyond the skies,
With praise and joy and love supreme.
Help me Lord to please our Father
In all my thoughts and words and deeds,
To follow your example, rather
Than worldly wants or niggling needs.
Jesus, Mary, your humility,
Surrender to the Father's will;
Complete obedience, not servility,
But loving trust in good or ill.
Help me Lord to seek perfection
In perfect love of you and neighboe,
With perfect trust in your direction,
And perfect, patient, ffaithful labor.
Help me Lord to turn to you
Before all else in all my needs
And even wants. Your grace is true
To guide my thoughts and words and deeds.
Help me Lord to bring to you
Decisions, questions, plans and doubts,
Concerns and feelings, moods and dreams
Remembrance too of all things past.
Help me Lord to look ahead
And not to brood on past events,
To let the dead past bury its dead,
Mistakes and sins and failed intents.
Help me Lord to rise above
Discomfort, comfor, pleasure, pain,
The need for effort, mere convenience,
Annoyance, anger, petty fears.
Help me Lord to use your gifts
As you would have it, not as I.
Grant grace when resolution dirfts
May any act, however small
You cannot view with joy and pleasure
Disgust my taste like bitter gall;
For only you are all my treasure.
Grant me Lord a pleasant mood,
But first of all to joy in you,
Despite my feelings, bad or good;
For such a joy is sure and true.
Were I the only soul on earth
That ever had been led astray,
You still had come with lowly birth,
And still have died to show the way.
Teach me, Lord, to seek the best
In all I do at your request,
Whether from myself or others,
In the service of our brothers.