The Temptation of Saint Joseph

The Prayer of Our Lady, the Song of Songs, nights that seemed like days, sighs of nameless pain.

THE TEMPTATION OF ST. JOSEPH
OR
THE UNSUNG MAGNIFICAT:
AN HYMN OF PAIN
by Manuel Buen Abad (2015)

My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
He looks on His servant in his lowliness;
henceforth all ages shall forget my name.
For He has blessed me with the Joy of my days;
He has cursed me with the Pain of my nights.

In His Love He has crushed my pride,
bent my back with a burden like no other.
In His Cruelty He has brought to my life
smiles and laughs, sighs and desire.

He put forth His arm in strength
and humbled my proud heart.
Though young and beautiful, tall and well-built;
though honest and kind, pious and bright
He judged me unworthy, culprit, deserving of His trial.

He has worked marvels with the skill of His hands
and shaped, with a Lover’s care,
the most sublime creature on this Earth.

She’s fierce as thunder, free as the wind,
Her presence an all-consuming fire.
How beautiful She is, O, how beautiful!
Her eyes are doves forever flying;
their beaks pierce my heart and it bleeds.

She looks forth like the dawn,
fair as the moon, bright as the sun,
terrible as an army with banners;
I look at Her and I tremble.

The fragrance of Her perfume
is more pleasing than any spice.
She’s a garden locked up,
a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain;
the fruit is ripe and the water fresh
and yet She remains unclaimed
but by Him, my Tormentor.

She fills our home with light
and joy pours like wine from Her mouth;
though I drink from it like a thirsty traveler
from Her Promised Land I am shunned.

And though I can read in Her gaze
the same eager desire that burns in mine;
and though Her breath goes away as I stare at Her face
I’m still empty handed and so I shall remain.

And in bed the sight of Her brown skin drives me insane,
the intoxicating scent of Her hair,
upon Her breasts I lay my head
and endless nights I spend awake,
my soul troubled, my flesh torn apart.

He, my Lord, my Master, my King,
He has released Hell upon my soul
and chose to kill me slowly, every day,
every night.

And I prayed, O I prayed
to Him the God of Israel,
Him, who remembers our father Abraham
and His people and His promise to them;
I prayed for an end to this life
but His silence was all I could hear.

And so it is my curse to love without reward,
my blessing to reach without attain,
to burn without consume;
to humbly witness Beauty here on Earth,
blindly witness Beauty here on Earth.

But I shall live on. I shall endure, I shall believe
that He hasn’t abandoned me,
that He hasn’t forsaken me.

I shall live on, I shall endure.
For Her, my love, my soul and hope,
my Sister, my Mother and my Lover.
And for Him in the cradle, for Him the Mystery;
He the Child, the Stranger, the Humble.

His Son, Her Son and now my Son,
my King, my Lord, my Hope,
He whom I love and whom I fear.
He once spoke from a burning bush,
now He shivers in the cold of night;
now He knows no words.

And when day comes, as it always comes
after the darkest of nights,
I get up and praise Him,
and kiss Her
and kiss Him,
His Mercies to the World,
His Beauty and His Word,
His finest signs of Love.

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