Persecution and Perseverance
I am struck dumb,
inside and outside.
My heart is shrouded by this misery;
my eyes, which look upon your holy face,
are stricken, assaulted by the light,
longing to be shut beneath their lids.
I have no voice
except an inner cry,
a mute, distressed animal whimper
that cannot even summon itself to ask for mercy.
My fingers drift
away from my hands
and the tokens of your love
are beyond their reach.
How do I pray?
O Lord, where is the longing of my prayer?
Hear the struggle of breath;
Hear the scream inside
the shaken contours of this skull,
with brain pierced
by some fiery blade.
O God, Love!
Hear the endless noise,
the howling of skin and nerve,
muscle and joint:
this cacophony of pain
that groans all through the place
where I once felt that I had a body.
Jesus, Mercy, forgive me.
Jesus, I offer.
I long for these to be my words to you,
but lips are speechless quiver,
and thought and heart are frozen in exhaustion.
Prayer is ice that does not flow.
Prayer is a voice of distant memory;
it feels like a stiff corpse
beneath my soul’s total turmoil.
In the end, there is nothing
but the hollowness that holds a thing called me
I want you, Jesus.
Published in Magnificat, November 2013, pp. 381-383.