If I find my position, my consciousness, that of one from home, nay, that of one is some sort of prison; if I find that I can neither rule the world in which I live nor my own thoughts or desires; that I cannot quiet my passions, order my likings, determine my ends, will my growth, forget when I would, or hate where I would; that I am no king over myself; that I cannot supply my own needs, do not even always know which of my seeming needs are to be supplied, and which treated as impostors; if, in a a word, my own being is every way too much for me; if I can neither understand it, be satisfied with it, nor better it—may it not well give me pause—the pause that ends in prayer?
— George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons
“All those who seek Thee tempt Thee,
And those who find would bind Thee
To gesture and to form.
But I would comprehend Thee
As the wide Earth unfolds Thee.
Thou growest with my maturity,
Thou Art in calm and storm.
I ask of Thee no vanity
To evidence and prove Thee.
Thou Wert in eons old.
Perform no miracles for me,
But justify Thy laws to me
Which, as the years pass by me.
All soundlessly unfold.”
The Book of Hours
Rainer Maria Rilke
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O God, whose daylight leadeth down
Into the sunless way,
Who with restoring sleep doest crown
The labour of the day!
What I have done, Lord, make it clean
With thy forgiveness dear;
That so today what might have been,
Tomorrow may appear.
And when my thought is all astray,
Yet think thou on in me;
That with the newborn innocent day
My soul rise fresh and free.
Nor let me wander all in vain
Through dreams that mock and flee;
But even in visions of the brain,
Go wandering toward thee.
THOU art of this world, Christ. Thou know’st it all;
Thou know’st our evens, our morns, our red and gray;
How moons, and hearts, and seasons rise and fall;
How we grow weary plodding on the way;
Of future joy how present pain bereaves,
Rounding us with a dark of mere decay,
Tossed with a drift Of summer-fallen leaves.
Thou knowest all our weeping, fainting, striving;
Thou know’st how very hard it is to be;
How hard to rouse faint will not yet reviving;
To do the pure thing, trusting all to thee;
To hold thou art there, for all no face we see;
How hard to think, through cold and dark and dearth,
That thou art nearer now than when eye-seen on earth.
Have pity on us for the look of things,
When blank denial stares us in the face.
Although the serpent mask have lied before,
It fascinates the bird that darkling sings,
And numbs the little prayer-bird’s beating wings.
For how believe thee somewhere in blank space,
If through the darkness come no knocking to our door?
If we might sit until the darkness go,
Possess our souls in patience perhaps we might;
But there is always something to be done,
And no heart left to do it. To and fro
The dull thought surges, as the driven waves fight
In gulfy channels. Oh! victorious one,
Give strength to rise, go out, and meet thee in the night.
Wake, thou that sleepest; rise up from the dead,
And Christ will give thee light.” I do not know
What sleep is, what is death, or what is light;
But I am waked enough to feel a woe,
To rise and leave death. Stumbling through the night,
To my dim lattice, O calling Christ! I go,
And out into the dark look for thy star-crowned head.
– George MacDonald.
“A Book of Strife in the Form of The Diary of an Old Soul.”
I cannot tell why this day I am ill;
But I am well because it is thy will—
Which is to make me pure and right like thee.
Not yet I need escape—’tis bearable
Because thou knowest. And when harder things
Shall rise and gather, and overshadow me,
I shall have comfort in thy strengthenings.