Beside the tomb wept Magdalen at dawn, –
She sought to find the dead and buried Christ;
Nothing could fill the void now He was gone,
No one to soothe her burning grief sufficed.
Not even you, Archangels heaven-assigned!
To her could bring content that dreary day.
Your buried King, alone, she longed to find,
And bear His lifeless body far away.
Beside His tomb she there the last remained,
And there again was she before the sun;
There, too, to come to her the Saviour deigned, –
He would not be, by her, in love outdone.
Gently He showed her then His blessed Face,
And one word sprang from His deep Heart’s recess:
Mary! His voice she knew, she knew its grace;
It came with perfect peace her heart to bless.
One day, my God! I, too, like Magdalen,
Desired to find Thee, to draw near to Thee;
So, over earth’s immense, wide-stretching plain,
I sought its Master and its King to see.
Then cried I, though I saw the flowers bloom
In beauty ‘neath green trees and azure skies:
O brilliant Naturel thou art one vast tomb,
Unless God’s Face shall greet my longing eyes.”
A heart I need, to soothe me and to bless, –
A strong support that can not pass away, –
To love me wholly, e’en my feebleness,
And never leave me through the night or day.
There is not one created thing below,
Can love me truly, and can never die.
God become man – none else’ my needs can know;
He, He alone, can understand my cry.
Thou comprehendest all I need, dear Lord!
To win my heart, from heaven Thou didst come;
For me Thy blood didst shed, O King adored!
And on our altars makest Thy home.
So, if I may not here behold Thy Face,
Or catch the heaenly music of Thy Voice,
I still can live, each moment, by Thy grace,
And in Thy Sacred Heart I can rejoice.
O Heart of Jesus, wealth of tenderness!
My joy Thou art, in Thee I safely hide.
Thou, Who my earliest youth didst charm and bless,
Till my last evening, oh! with me abide,
All that I had, to Thee I wholly gave,
To Thee each deep desire of mine is known.
Whoso his life shall lose, that life shall save; –
Let mine be ever lost in Thine alone!
I know it well, no righteousness of mine
Hath any value in Thy searching eyes;
Its every breath my heart must draw from Thine,
To make of worth my life’s long sacrifice.
Thou hast not found Thine angels without taint;
Thy Law amid the thunderbolts was given;
And yet, my Jesus! I nor fear nor faint.
For me, on Calvary, Thy Heart was riven.
To see Thee in Thy glory face to face, –
I know it well, – the soul must pass through fires.
Choose I on earth my purgatorial place, –
The flaming love of Thy great Heart’s desires!
So shall my exiled soul, to death’s command,
Make answer with one cry of perfect love;
Then flying straight to heaven its Fatherland,
Shall reach with no delay that home above.
–Saint Therese of Lisieux
translated by S L Emery