I want to want, Lord, what I do not want,
An icy veil hides between heart and fire
And damps the fire, making my page a liar,
Since my pen and my conduct do not fit.
I love you with my tongue, then I lament
Love does not reach the heart, and can't tell where
To open the door to grace so it can enter
And thrust all ruthless pride out of my heart.
Tear the veil thou, O break that wall, my Lord,
Which with its hardness keeps in check the sun
Of your own light; on earth it is put out.
Send that same ray of light to your fair bride
Which we are then to have, so I may burn,
And my heart feel you only with no doubt.
- Michelangelo (p. 62 Complete Poems, Gilbert)
After watching a True-Face sermon by John Lynch, I am moved by Michelangelo in this poem. Lynch spoke about the eternal love of God the Father when we tear away our masks and merely trust in Him. Pleasing God isn't possible without trusting Him.
I think Michelangelo was feeling this distinction - this poignant, liberating reality.
"I love you with my tongue, then I lament/Love does not reach the heart, and can't tell where."
But for man striving to please God without trusting, the words off his tongue...are like Tennyson's: "words are only words" to the Father.
Michelangelo only longs to "feel you only with no doubt." I pray for this faith.
Tennyson's words were for trying to maintain God, to keep Him happy -- he wrote in grief, perplexed by loss. ("In Memoriam") And so we are met by the everyday question: How do I trust God in a world of loss? Can I really believe that He loves me? What can I trust in Him? What will I cling to? What was before me, what comes after, what is inside me?
"...and then comes the sweet gospel of Jesus Christ." -John Lynch
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