Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Thee Will I Love

During Communion at Sunday's Eucharist, the Abbey schola sang the following hymn with lyrics by Angelus Silesius which are clearly indebted to Saint Augustine:

Thee will I love, my strength, my comfort.
Thee will I love, my Jewel fair,
Love Thee in thought and word and action,
All other loves for Thee foreswear,
Love Thee with all that in me lies,
For Thee till death shall close my eyes.

Sad is my heart, so late to find Thee.
Would I had known Thee long ago,
Known all my life Thy blessed beauty,
Seen through the years Thy blessings grow.
Ah, dearest God what cruel fate,
That I should love Thee thus so late!

In the silence and solitude of the cloister the monk may sometimes be haunted by memories of past sins and unfaithfulness. And perhaps like Augustine and Angelus, he may regret time he has lost or wasted. But Christ Jesus is greater than our hearts, and always eager to forgive and heal with his unquenchable mercy all our sins, hurt memories and regrets. His kind mercy is the "now" in which he invites us to dwell.
Head of Christ, 15th century, Champagne, France, Limestone,  10 1/2 in. (26.7 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art. Used with permission.