Archive for August, 2008

Francis Thompson

The Hound of Heaven

By Francis Thompson (1859-1907)

I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes I sped;
And shot, precipitated,
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmed fears,
From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.
But with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbèd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
They beat--and a Voice beat
More instant than the Feet--
"All things betray thee, who betrayest Me."
I pleaded, outlaw-wise,
By many a hearted casement, curtained red,
Trellised with intertwining charities
(For, though I knew His love Who followed,
Yet was I sore adread
Lest having Him, I must have naught beside);
But if one little casement parted wide,
The gust of His approach would clash it to.
Fear wist not to evade, as Love wist to pursue.
Across the margent of the world I fled,
And troubled the gold gateways of the stars,
Smiting for shelter on their clanged bars;
Fretted to dulcet jars
And silvern chatter the pale ports o' the moon.
I said to dawn, Be sudden; to eve, Be soon;
With thy young skyey blossoms heap me over
From this tremendous Lover!
Float thy vague veil about me, lest He see!
I tempted all His servitors, but to find
My own betrayal in their constancy,
In faith to Him their fickleness to me,
Their traitorous trueness, and their loyal deceit.
To all swift things for swiftness did I sue;
Clung to the whistling mane of every wind.
But whether they swept, smoothly fleet,
The long savannahs of the blue;
Or whether, Thunder-driven,
They clanged his chariot 'thwart a heaven
Plashy with flying lightnings round the spurn o' their feet--
Still with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbèd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
Came on the following Feet,
And a Voice above their beat--
"Naught shelters thee, who wilt not shelter Me."
I sought no more that after which I strayed
In face of man or maid;
But still within the little children's eyes
Seems something, something that replies;
They at least are for me, surely for me!
I turned me to them very wistfully;
But, just as their young eyes grew sudden fair
With dawning answers there,
Their angel plucked them from me by the hair.
"Come then, ye other children, Nature's--share
With me," said I, "your delicate fellowship;
Let me greet you lip to lip,
Let me twine with you caresses,
With our Lady-Mother's vagrant tresses'
With her in her wind-walled palace,
Underneath her azured daïs,
Quaffing, as your taintless way is,
From a chalice
Lucent-weeping out of the dayspring."
So it was done;
I in their delicate fellowship was one--
Drew the bolt of Nature's secrecies.
I knew all the swift importings
On the wilful face of skies;
I knew how the clouds arise
Spumèd of the wild sea-snortings;
All that's born or dies
Rose and drooped with--made them shapers
Of mine own moods, or wailful or divine--
With them joyed and was bereaven.
I was heavy with the even,
When she lit her glimmering tapers
Round the day's dead sanctities.
I laughed in the morning's eyes.
I triumphed and I saddened with all weather,
Heaven and I wept together,
And its sweet tears were salt with mortal mine;
Against the red throb of its sunset-heart
I laid my own to beat,
And share commingling heat;
But not by that, by that, was eased my human smart.
In vain my tears were wet on Heaven's gray cheek.
For ah! we know not what each other says,
These things and I; in sound I speak--
Their sound is but their stir, they speak by silences.
Nature, poor stepdame, cannot slake my drouth;
Let her, if she would owe me,
Drop yon blue bosom-veil of sky, and show me
The breasts of her tenderness;
Never did any milk of hers once bless
My thirsting mouth.
Nigh and nigh draws the chase,
With unperturbèd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy;
And past those noisèd Feet
A voice comes yet more fleet--
"Lo naught contents thee, who content'st not Me."
Naked I wait Thy love's uplifted stroke!
My harness piece by piece Thou hast hewn from me,
And smitten me to my knee;
I am defenseless utterly.
I slept, methinks, and woke,
And, slowly gazing, find me stripped in sleep.
In the rash lustihead of my young powers,
I shook the pillaring hours
And pulled my life upon me; grimed with smears,
I stand amid the dust o' the mounded years--
My mangled youth lies dead beneath the heap.
My days have crackled and gone up in smoke,
Have puffed and burst as sun-starts on a stream.
Yea, faileth now even dream
The dreamer, and the lute the lutanist;
Even the linked fantasies, in whose blossomy twist
I swung the earth a trinket at my wrist,
Are yielding; cords of all too weak account
For earth with heavy griefs so overplussed.
Ah! is Thy love indeed
A weed, albeit amaranthine weed,
Suffering no flowers except its own to mount?
Ah! must--
Designer infinite!--
Ah! must Thou char the wood ere Thou canst limn with it?
My freshness spent its wavering shower i' the dust;
And now my heart is a broken fount,
Wherein tear-drippings stagnate, spilt down ever
From the dank thoughts that shiver
Upon the sighful branches of my mind.
Such is; what is to be?
The pulp so bitter, how shall taste the rind?
I dimly guess what Time in mist confounds;
Yet ever and anon a trumpet sounds
From the hid battlements of Eternity;
Those shaken mists a space unsettle, then
But not ere him who summoneth
I first have seen, enwound
With blooming robes, purpureal, cypress-crowned;
His name I know, and what his trumpet saith.
Whether man's heart or life it be which yields
Thee harvest, must Thy harvest fields
Be dunged with rotten death?
Now of that long pursuit
Comes on at hand the bruit;
That Voice is round me like a bursting sea:
"And is thy earth so marred,
Shattered in shard on shard?
Lo, all things fly thee, for thou fliest Me!
Strange, piteous, futile thing,
Wherefore should any set thee love apart?
Seeing none but I makes much of naught," He said,
"And human love needs human meriting,
How hast thou merited--
Of all man's clotted clay rhe dingiest clot?
Alack, thou knowest not
How little worthy of any love thou art!
Whom wilt thou find to love ignoble thee
Save Me, save only Me?
All which I took from thee I did but take,
Not for thy harms.
But just that thou might'st seek it in my arms.
All which thy child's mistake
Fancies as lost, I have stored for the at home;
Rise, clasp My hand, and come!"
Halts by me that footfall;
Is my gloom, after all,
Shade of His hand, outstreched caressingly?
"Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,
I am He Whom thou seekest!
Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me."


– Rose


Read Full Post »

Back to School

Hello fellow lilies!!!!!

First of all, I owe everyone (on behalf of the other three authors) a huge apology for not updating the site during the past couple weeks. There have been several family celebrations, including a cousin’s wedding, amongst other things. Today is officially the first day back to school, and sadly I am going to have to beg our readers’ patience as we take a little time off from writing on this site until we get used to our new schedules. Please keep all of us – myself, Rose, Ivy, and Honeysuckle – in your prayers. You and your intentions are in ours daily.



Read Full Post »

From the Office of Readings for the Memorial of St. Clare:

Queen and bride of Jesus Christ, look into that mirror daily and study well your reflection, that you may adorn yourself, mind and body, with an enveloping garment of every virtue, and thus find yourself attired in flowers and gowns befitting the daughter and most chaste bride of the king on high. In this mirror blessed poverty, holy humility and ineffable love are also reflected. With the grace of God the whole mirror will be your source of contemplation.

– Letter to Bl. Agnes of Prague by St. Clare

Isn’t that beautiful? I think it is wonderful advice for every woman – religious, discerning, or called to the married life – to prepare yourself carefully and as “befitting the daughter and most chaste bride of the king on high.” This preparation is what this waiting time on earth is for: to attire ourselves for the Kingdom of Heaven. Happy Feast of St. Clare of Assisi!


Read Full Post »

God’s Harmony

Rest in the palm of God’s hand; so that He may carry you closer to His heart, so you may live in harmony with the saints.


Read Full Post »

Yesterday in Adoration (after greeting Fr. Foley – huzzahs! – he’s been on vacation), I started The Reed of God by Caryll Houselander. In fact, I bought the book from the Daughters of St. Paul at Mount 2008 in February at the recommendation of my mother who said it was amazing. But I didn’t feel called to read it until this past week. I can only marvel at God’s timing in inspiring us to read certain books at certain times in our lives; I always pick up books to read when I *most* need them.

Lately I have been asking myself, as nearly everyone does at one point or another, “what is my purpose in life?” Well, I opened the book to read:

It is the purpose for which something is made that decides the material which is used.

The purpose for which human beings are made is told to us briefly in the catechism. It is to know, love, and serve God in this world and to be happy with Him forever in the next.

This knowing, loving and serving is far more intimate than that rather cold little sentence reveals to us.

The material which God has found apt for it is human nature: blood, flesh, bone, salt, water, will, intellect.

It is impossible to say too often or too strongly that human nature, body and soul together, is the material for God’s will in us.

Praise God for such an answer! At this point in my reading I was crying, but continued on to finish the chapter. What is His purpose for my life? To love as Christ loves. It reminds of what Joe (our Catechesis leader in Sydney and a totally awesome dad/husband) was trying to tell me: that career and success and everything that goes with them are merely secondary to our Christian mission to put our talents, time, and love at the service of the Church of Christ. It also reminds me of what worship leader Matt Maher reminded everyone attending his concert: that our primary mission as Christians is to live love and everything else will fall into its own place. Thank you and God bless you, both Joe and Matt!

I am eager to read more, though at the same time I am trying to pace myself so I can meditate on each and every sentence. Even with only having read the first chapter, I can recommend the book whole-heartedly, particularly to any and every woman who desires to imitate our Heavenly Mother.


Read Full Post »

Layout design

Sorry – I changed the layout design again! I just realized today that the “prayer requests” page disappeared in the last design.


Read Full Post »

I am slowing coming out of the fog of jetlag (shocked my system out of it yesterday when I let my body have its way and just stayed up for 45 hours without a wink of sleep), and am finally lucid enough to post!

On our second day of Catechesis at WYD, a bishop from Ireland spoke to us. I was actually on the phone with my mom outside of the church, but was able to catch part of his talk. Of course (because God was entirely running things Down Under and we all knew it!) I heard the part I needed to hear and on which I needed to meditation. So I will offer the catalyst as well as the fruit of those meditations for consideration.

During his talk, the bishop said that we should pray every morning to be able to “accept surprises that upset your plans. Shatter your dreams. Give a completely new turn to your day; perhaps your life.” Almost every day of my life – and I’m sure many of you can relate – I am asked some variation of the question what are your dreams? I can never answer; I stumble over my words and make something up that sounds nice. Culture is focused on living your dreams; but what if your dreams aren’t what God desires for you? Something tells me that His “dreams” for a person would be worlds better than anything we can formulate. Thus we should be willing to shatter our dreams daily.

On the other hand, Pope Benedict emphasized in his homily at the Closing Mass that our desires are formed by faith and thus are good in and of themselves. At first I thought this contradicted my earlier train of thought about dreams, but on closer examination it does not. Pope Benedict is assuming that one is taking advantage regularly of the Sacraments. If one is doing this and keeping close to Christ and His will in this way, then one’s desires would (hopefully) match up with Christ’s will and His “dreams”.


Read Full Post »

Older Posts »