Having been away on retreat, while there, perusing a hymnal, I came upon a splendid hymn, very Augustinian I thought, given the lines "My heart is pained, nor can it be / At rest, till it finds rest in Thee" (cf. his Confessions, 1.1.1.), written by the Pietist Gerhard Tersteegen, translated by Wesley, and set to a good German tune harmonized by Bach – how ecumenical! how evangelical! – and must therefore share this gem, which to me seems redolent of the heart's fearful fumbling quest for God while still amidst this world's allurements:
Thou hidden Love of God, whose height,Whose depth unfathomed no one knows,I see from far Thy beauteous light,And inly sigh for Thy repose;My heart is pained, nor can it beAt rest, till it finds rest in Thee.
Thy secret voice invites me stillThe sweetness of Thy yoke to prove;And fain I would; but though my willSeems fixed, yet wide my passions rove;Yet hindrances strew all the way;I aim at Thee, yet from Thee stray.
’Tis mercy all that Thou has broughtMy mind to seek its peace in Thee;Yet while I seek, but find Thee not,No peace my wandering soul shall see.O when shall all my wanderings end,And all my steps to Theeward tend?
Is there a thing beneath the sunThat strives with Thee my heart to share?Ah, tear it thence and reign alone,The Lord of every motion there;Then shall my heart from earth be free,When it hath found repose in Thee.
O hide this self from me, that INo more, but Christ in me, may live!My vile affections crucify,Nor let one darling lust surviveIn all things nothing may I see,Nothing desire or seek, but Thee!
O Love, Thy sovereign aid impartTo save me from low thoughted care;Chase this self will from all my heart,From all its hidden mazes there;Make me Thy duteous child that ICeaseless may Abba, Father cry.
Ah no! ne’er will I backward turn:Thine wholly, Thine alone I am!Thrice happy he who views with scornEarth’s toys, for Thee his constant flame;O help that I may never moveFrom the blest footsteps of Thy love!
Each moment draw from earth awayMy heart that lowly waits Thy call;Speak to my inmost soul and say,I am thy love, thy God, thy all!To feel Thy power, to hear Thy voice,To taste Thy love, be all my choice.
A suitable song with which to finish the course of Lent, and prepare for the great days of Holy Week, now opened with Palm Sunday Mass this morning.