Lord, I Confess


I confess that you are good, and that to you all gentleness and love belong.  And when there comes upon me the great pain of my heart and head, it is to you that I must look, and the look must be one of love, not reproach.  If any should be reproachful it is you, who have stretched out your hands all the day and I would not.

O Lord, my God, I stand upright when I should bow and kneel: how else can I learn but through the humbling discipline of pain—and that (at first) the least of pains, which is in the body.

Let me not forget that pain is our work, and is the token which has the power of being honored in much gold.  You have said that those you love you chastise.  Can it be that you love me?  That cannot be—and yet, it must be, for yours is the true love, which stretches forth its hands all the day.

Do you remember when I longed for death, and thought to be, in one brief hour, with you in Paradise?  And do you remember how that changed, and how I saw that I was standing penniless before your door?  And how in fear I prayed for life?

What now?  Life is a pain indeed, but it makes for Death.  Still am I penniless.  But you are rich, and you and I (but how, O God?  O, to see that mystery!), you and I are one.

But if you and I are one, then my pain is your pain, and since the pain is your love, why then, it is my love.  And if I have your love when I feel your pain then surely have I overcome the world.

Lord, I am a poor fool: teach me the Wisdom which played before the eternal hills.  Teach me the Wisdom which is Love divine, and give me the Trust which brings your Peace.

O Lord, show me gratitude, for I am yours.


(Philip Jebb)

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