Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Kingdom of God

by Francis Thompson

O World invisible, we view thee,
O world intangible, we touch thee,
O world unknowable, we know thee,
Inapprehensible, we clutch thee!

Does the fish soar to find the ocean,
The eagle plunge to find the air—
That we ask of the stars in motion
If they have rumour of thee there?

Not where the wheeling systems darken,
And our benumbed conceiving soars!—
The drift of pinions, would we hearken,
Beats at our own clay-shuttered doors.

The angels keep their ancient places;—
Turn but a stone, and start a wing!
'Tis ye, 'tis your estrangèd faces,
That miss the many-splendoured thing.

But (when so sad thou canst not sadder)
Cry;—and upon thy so sore loss
Shall shine the traffic of Jacob’s ladder
Pitched betwixt Heaven and Charing Cross.

Yea, in the night, my Soul, my daughter,
Cry,—clinging Heaven by the hems;
And lo, Christ walking on the water
Not of Gennesareth, but Thames!

* * *

Francis Thompson was a religious poet with a very tumultuous life. He spent time as a drug addict as well as a mystic.

I posted this poem in honour of the Feast of the Ascension. Christ ascended, but He did not depart. (By this I do not support the odd idea I heard once that Christ's glorified body is still on earth! In case anyone was wondering.) He "will be with us always, until the close of the age." Most people expect to find God in extraordinary things. How often He is found in the ordinary instead! St. Thérèse found Him there.

There is not much chance of my seeing anything extraordinary this summer. But there will be plenty of opportunities for me to find ordinary holiness through my work at home.

Speaking of which, I should go exercise some ordinary holiness and go help my mom.

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