John Of Kronstadt - Poem by Daniel Brick
What marks, makes the saint
so different from you or me,
from all of us lumped together
into one huge disorderly family?
Is it the saint's early prayer
that fold upon fold of light descend
upon one and all, even the unworthiest
among us, that no evil disturb
the poise of faith within each heart?
And in what tarnished place
are my morning thoughts lodged
while his embrace the whole of hope?
Or is it his gesture of charity
at every moment, acts of virtue
so sudden, so spontaneous nothing
of them remains after their doing,
no sign that points back to him,
anonymous and fleeting, known only
to the witnessing angels? Meanwhile
I amass good deeds like wealth, swelling
my account in heaven as a hedge against
harsh judgment, so fearful am I
that mercy is too good to be true
for one who has lived a narrow life.
Or is it his life in prayer, the Pilgrim's
unceasing prayer - LORD JESUS CHRIST,
HAVE MERCY UPON ME - recited twelve thousand
times a day, that opens wide above him
the gates of heaven, granting him a vision
that makes worldly things dissolve
in the celestial light, invisible
to all in earth but the saints, who respond
to this glory in their evening prayer,
Lord, give me nothing more. Shower
your grace upon that solitary soul who
wanders, bereft of hope and faith. Lord, save him.
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