There is a tree planted by God which we call Love.
You there, you I see up in its branches-
Show me where I can begin to climb,
That I might leave this darkness behind.
I climb so slowly that if I stop to speak to you
A puff of wind will blow me down.
I have a long way to go;
Indeed, there’s a hard struggle ahead.
The glory of the ascent, I know, is God’s not yours,
But help me work free of this swamp-
If thanks to your aid I come to serve God
It will be you who has won me back for Him.
To the praise of God I tell you,
And as a friend,
That in fear of the Enemy
Was I lead to this tree.
I looked at it in my mind’s eye
Meditated on it at length,
And burned with the desire
To climb that measureless height.
I could not even guess
How high the branches reached;
The trunk was straight and smooth.
I saw no place where I could get a hold,
Except for one branch
That curved down to the ground;
A poor despised little bit of a branch,
It bore the mark of humility.
I was ready to climb when suddenly
I heard a voice: “Do not touch me
Unless you have first confessed,
Cleansed yourself of all mortal sin.”
Contrition flooded my heart,
I cleansed myself with confession
And with the help of God
Coming back to the tree I felt fear and misgivings,
In anticipation; of the exhausting effort;
I devoutly prayed to God for help,
For without His aid I could not climb the tree.
“Sign yourself with the sign of the cross,”
Said a voice that came from Heaven,
“And take hold of the shining bough,
A branch that is pleasing to God.”
Source: Magnificat ( Brother Jacopone Da Todi, O.F.M. – was a Franciscan poet born in Italy.)