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Lorenzo

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6 Catholic Poems that Testify to God’s Love
« on: April 29, 2013, 03:30:49 AM »
the Catholic Church has a vast reservoir of beautiful poetry that testifies to God’s love for Creation and us. Poetry is an excellent tool of praise and acknowledgement of all that God has given us. Perhaps not as simple nor as easily entertaining as prose would be, poetry has an added facet that is not as evident in prose.

The beautiful aspect of poetry that sets it apart from prose is the added rhythm creating another layer of description that goes beyond words. For example, in the poem “The Hound of Heaven” I can almost hear the pounding of footfalls against the pavement. It as if with each step a word from the poem is pounded out against the ground. This rhythm creates a sense of urgency that one would feel in a footrace against God. I would argue that if Francis Thompson’s vision of “The Hound of Heaven” was depicted in prose, it would not have given the readers as much of an emotional impact at the prospect of being pursued by God and finally succumbing to His liberating love.

I have selected six poems by Catholic poets and writers who speak and write about God’s gracious gift of his love for His people. My advice is to read them purposefully and aloud to get the full effect. There are far more poems that are probably greater than these, but I selected some of my favorites (“A Child My Choice” is my particular favorite). Some are just excerpts because some of the poems are very long. For those you want to read the poems in total, you can click on the titles which are linked to the a page with the completed poem. If you are interested in more poems by Catholic or at least “Christ-haunted” poets, I would recommend the book Flowers of Heaven compiled by Joseph Pearce.

Now on to the poems (be prepared to be pursued by love and captured by God’s glory):


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Lorenzo

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Re: 6 Catholic Poems that Testify to God’s Love
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2013, 03:31:17 AM »
1.An Excerpt from the “The Hound of Heaven”

I fled Him, down the nights and down the days:
 I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
 I fled Him, down the labyrinthine way
 Of my own mind; and in the midst of tears
 I him from Him, and under running laughter.
 Up vistaed hopes I sped;
 And shot, precipitated,
 Adown Titanic glooms of chasmed fears,
 From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.
 But with unhurrying chase,
 And unperturbed pace,
 Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
 They beat — and a Voice beat
 More instant than the Feet–
 â€œAll things betray thee, who betrayest Me.”

–Francis Thompson


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Re: 6 Catholic Poems that Testify to God’s Love
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2013, 03:32:28 AM »
2. “A Child My Choice”¹


Let folly praise what fancy loves, I praise and loves that Child
 Whose heart no thought, whose tongue no word, whose hand
 no deed defiled.

 I praise him most, I love him best, all praise and love is his,
 While him I love, in him I live, and cannot live amiss.
 Love’s sweetest mark, laud’s highest theme, man’s most desired light,
 To love him life, to leave him death, to live in him delight.
 He mine by gift, I his by debt, thus each to other due,
 First friend he was, best friend he is, all times will try him true.
 Though young, yet wise; though small, yet strong; though man,
 yet God he is:

 As wise he knows; as strong he can; as God he loves to bliss.
 His knowledge rules; his strength defends; his love doth cherish all;
 His birth our Joy; his life out light; his death our end of thrall.
 Alas, he weeps, he sighs, he pants, yet do his Angels sing;
 Out of his tears, his sighs and throbs, doth bud a joyful spring.
 Almighty babe, whose tender arms can force all foes to fly,
 Correct my faults, protect my life, direct me when I die.

–St. Robert Southwell



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