A Sinner’s Prayer

Come, Holy Ghost, and guide my pen  
Not that I may write as though worthy  
But only with the thought of love for Thee.

Of that which love of wisdom knows by method,  
I immolate my pride to know by heart.  
There is no treasure greater than the Person:

The second of the Substance which Thou art,  
United with the Father and with Thee,  
Who from them both proceed eternally.

O, what am I that in Thy visitation  
Thou wouldst descend, and with fire rational,  
Illumine me by light of revelation?

Was it not I who mocked in genuflection  
And spat upon Thy adorable Face?  
Who scourged Thy back with stripes of lust and hatred;

Who called a rebel angel in Thy place?  
Who longed to be a son of God, and still  
Persecuted the True Only-Begotten?

Didst Thou come down from upon the Cross  
And, as Thou withered the fruitless fig tree,  
Forsake me in my steadfast want of hell?

O God!  Thou stayed Thy hand for love of one  
Who, nothing in himself, alas, presumed  
Himself Thy rival, and Thee his mortal foe;

O God, Thou agonized and died for me  
Alone Thy sorrow wounded Thee mortally,  
Alone the tears I put upon Thy cheek.

But Thou didst not allow Thyself to die  
Until Thy love could show itself to me.  
O hand!  Infinite violence thou hast done.

For hand to hand, Thy death is my doing.  
No Roman fixed Thy hands to wood but me;  
No Jew preferred the murderer, but me.

And learn well, soul, for this is wisdom:  
The malice that I wrought now serves to prove  
Its just desert is overcome by love.

Though I should die a thousand times, yet still  
No justice can more perfect be than this,  
Forsaken by His Father in my stead.

O Mystery!  Thy Sacred Heart consumes  
Itself for love of a worm that despised Thee,  
So strong a love that nothing can deter it.

That veil, which no mortal can remove  
Unless hope of return be sacrificed,  
And which resolves all things to wind and wave,

Not even such can comprehend Thy love.  
And though it be the balance of a sin,  
Thou didst much more than balance by Thy grace.

O Lord, what hast Thou given me that Thou  
Canst smile upon the soul that hated Thee, or  
Bless the hands that scourged and battered Thee!

What hast Thou put inside this frail form  
Such that Thy Majesty can call it brother?  
And what a devil, I who bade it leave!

Still, Jesus, never let me part from Thee;  
Bless me so to live to die for Thee;  
Rather let me die than turn from Thee.

So that I love the cross Thou made for me,  
And bear Thy love upon it, and for Thee  
To prove to men o'er sin Thy victory.

And Mary, beg thy Son to make of me  
The kind of thing He willest me to be,  
For never would thy Son refuse it thee.

Almighty Father, Son, and Holy Ghost  
Over the earth and the celestial host  
Immortal glory be forever Thine.  
Amen.
Arboretus