Thursday 29 April 2010

Light in the murk

In the wake of yesterday's feast of St Louis de Monfort, I would like to paste here one of the many hymns which he wrote. Actually, yesterday at Campion College we celebrated the other Memoria, that of St Peter Chanel, the martyr of Oceania whose mortal remains spent some time within our grounds, whilst beings translated from the island of Futuna to Rome for his Canonisation. The College and its grounds formally belonged to the Marist Fathers, of which St Peter Chanel was a member. A fine statue of St Peter in our grounds commemorates the fact that the mortal remians of this saint were once here.
I first encountered a part of St Louis de Monfort's Canticle to the Holy Spirit in 2001 whilst visiting a house of the Beatitudes Community in Normandy. I paste here the entire hymn. It is an extraordinary prayer and will do any who prays it more good than the whole media empire put together could begin to offer us. This is especially appropriate as we approach Pentecost. (The personal pronouns could be made into the plural.)
1. Come, Father of light,
come God of love,
create in me my prayer.
Show me the truth,
send into my soul
an ember of your fire,
to penetrate it with flame
and fill it with God.
2. Come, Holy Spirit, who creates
martyrs, confessors,
apostles, prophets,
great heroes, valiant hearts.
It is your unique way
that my Saviour has trod;
so that I may imitate him,
lead me as you led him.
3. You who work miracles
through powerless mortals,
You who utter oracles
through poor ignorant humans.
By the power of your grace
strengthen my languor;
to melt my coldness,
speak to the depths of my heart.
4. Distance me from what is in vogue,
from the well-travelled road,
this spector, so convenient
and so full of evil.
Teach me that path,
unknown to almost everyone,
which leads without doubt
straight to Heaven and to You.
5. I beg you, open my ears
to the words of faith,
to practice the marvels
of Your divine law;
to listen only to God himself
in every preacher;
and to cry anathema
against this deceitful world.
6. Speak, Your words are
what I seek night and day.
Speak, destroy the idols
that attack your love.
Speak, to proclaim victory
over all my enemies.
Speak, to acheive the glory
of having submitted them to us.
7. Speak, Holy Spirit, to create
a wellspring in my heart,
whose pure, healthful water
saves the greatest sinner,
heals the most incurable
by opening his eyes,
and pardons the most guilty
by springing up to Heaven.
8. More than the Magdalen,
than Lazarus in the tomb
and than the Samaritan woman,
I beg you for this water;
I want to drink it, I beg you for it,
I know it is a precious gift;
the greater this favour is,
the more you will be glorified.
9. Support my weakness,
I am a fragile reed.
Steady my faltering
I change more than the wind.
Dissipate my darkness,
I am as one born blind.
Calm my concupiscence
or I am damned.
10. Without You my soul is barren,
it is empty of any good.
Without You I hasten to my doom
and fall for a trifle.
I can neither think nor speak,
nor do any good deed for God,
unless to accomplish it
You sustain me everywhere.
11. Give me Your wisdom,
this taste for truth,
this charity which impels
without forcing the will.
This grace so fruitful,
this attraction so ravishing,
this profound, blessed peace
and this all-powerful aid.
12. If you wish me to cry
and that my heart be touched,
let me see now
the loathsomeness of my sin.
Reveal Yourself to me
and then I will love you,
convert me, dear Master,
and I will be converted.
13. You do not wish to compel
my evil will.
That is why I have everything to fear
from my own liberty.
The lure of your grace
I have too often resisted;
I give in, take over
with full authority.
14. Great God, make Yourself the Master
of my whole heart to love,
of my mind to know,
of my tongue to delight,
of my senses and power
to suffer and to act.
Of my possessions, of my pains
and of everything, that I may serve You.
15. Make a temple of my heart,
of my tongue, an instrument
to speak to all by example,
to speak eloquently
through Jesus and Mary.
Reign pwerfully in me
so that I may then glorify
God alone forever.
God alone!
16. O holy and faithful Virgin,
Spouse of the Holy Spirit,
change my rebellious heart
into a heart humble and contrite.
Give me a docile heart,
truly faithful to His voice,
to live the Gospel
in its counsels and its laws.

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