Saturday, September 13, 2014

Contemplating the Cross

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

Made satisfaction.

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.)

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