Love's Own Likeness, by Father Mark Schultz SCP


Many of you who were present at Evensong and Benediction last Sunday have commented on the beautiful meditation read by Father Schultz. As you may be aware, Fr. Schultz is something of a wordsmith and is an accomplished (and published) playwright and poet. He composed this meditative poem himself, and we publish it in this week’s e-news for you to reflect on.


I
How shall we hymn this Mystery no tongue can rightly tell?
How approach the unspeakable Presence of the Real that lies really presenced here?
Mercy’s Sacramental Majesty serenely makes this altar home:
How abide we now before the furnace of this radiant marvelousness?
How bear we now this weight of glory that hath all heaven bent
To be with us?
How do walls not shake quake and shatter,
And sinful shuddering souls not all fail and faint?
But Sovereign Lord, preserve us in thy Presence yet:
Be thou our strength to stand and stay,
Supply thou our unworthy worship with thy worthy-making blessing
And let some sweet spirit press to our trembling lips
some burning grace to speak thy glory true.

II
Blazing six-winged seraphim and fearsome four-faced cherubim gasp
rapturous now in wonder to see
bright Heaven’s boundless brilliance focused
to one manifest and earthly point on an altar here.

Countless saints in unseen untold numbers throng and thrill
to adore the Invisible Beauty visible now,
clothing all creation with its abundant beautifying beatitude.

Sun and stars above us wheel and in their courses splendid shine
And here, here is their splendor,
here their fire’s source and pattern.

Oceans, seas, waves, waters, floods rage, froth and furiously foam
And here their dark dreadful deepness
finds it’s dazzling depthless archetype.

Storm and tumult seethe and swell
And here is the fierce stillness
that vexes storms to peace

Earth’s pillars, mountains, stones do groan to bear the world up sure,
And here is stone’s solidity,
here all solidity’s foundation.

All earth’s glittering treasures here their glister find.
All music from this sacred silence soars.
All prayer pronounced in this divine now palpable Word.
All things begin and end in fullness thin-veiled here.

Where
Death is undone,
Immortality imparted,
And eternity for us secured.

III
O by what miracle can it be the world’s true Light,
Heaven’s Splendor, God’s bright Glory,
has become our humble Bread?
By what miracle is God’s Immortal Word
become deathless food for dying mortals?
By what miracle is the body, blood, soul, divinity of our Eternal King,
whom heaven and earth cannot contain,
fully present here, in this place, on this altar,
in such simple sustenance?
By what miracle does Heaven’s High Lord deign
to become this lowly creature of earth?
And by what miracle is all this miraculousness wrought for us,
our comfort, exaltation, and our joy?
By what other name shall we call this and every miracle
but by the name of Love?

For Love it is that preserves us now amidst Love’s crucible and forge.
Love it is that shapes us into Love’s own likeness now.
Love it is that stands in is to enable us to stand.
Love it is that worships in us to make our worship true.
Love it is that sings in us
prays in us
loves in us.
Love it is our Lord, our Life, our Light,
our Bread, our Banquet and our Host.

IV
O Love, our Love, our sweetness dear, our Jesus:
How draw we near to Thee
except Thou first draw near to us
to draw us then by Love to thee?
And here Thou art: near,
as Thou didst promise when,
ascending to thy heavenly throne,
Thou couldst not bear to part from us.
O draw us, draw us, draw us to thy nearness, Lord,
And more: let us be thy nearness.
Reign Thou not in heaven nor from this altar only,
But do thou, Lord, reign now in us;
enthrone thyself in us.
Set our hearts aflame with that central secret Fire of Love
That blazes from within thy Sacred Heart.
Make us living flames of Love.

Receive our all, dear Jesus,
little though it be,
in that sweet silence whence thou dost yet yearn to speak
thy Name O Christ,
thy Glory
now
in us.