Thursday, May 17, 2012

Hymn for the Ascension

Why is thy face so lit with smiles,
Mother of Jesus! why?
And wherefore is thy beaming look
So fixed upon the sky?

From out thine overflowing eyes
Bright lights of gladness part,
As though some gushing fount of joy
Had broken in thy heart.

Mother! how canst thou smile today?
How can thine eyes be bright,
When He, thy Life, thy Love, thine All,
Hath vanished from thy sight?

His rising form on Olivet
A summer's shadow cast;
The branches of the hoary trees
Drooped as the shadow passed.

And as He rose with all His train
Of righteous souls around,
His blessing fell into thine heart,
Like dew into the ground.

Down stooped a silver cloud from heaven,
The Eternal Spirit's car,
And on the lessening vision went,
Like some receding star.

The silver cloud hath sailed away,
The skies are blue and free;
The road that vision took is now
Sunshine and vacancy.

The Feet which thou hast kissed so oft,
Those living Feet, are gone;
Mother ! thou canst but stoop and kiss
Their print upon the stone.

He loved the Flesh thou gavest Him,
Because it was from thee;
He loved it, for it gave Him power
To bleed and die for me.

That Flesh with its five witness Wounds
Unto His throne He bore,
For God to love, and spirits blest
To worship ever more.

Yes! He hath left thee, Mother dear!
His throne is far above;
How canst thou be so full of joy
When thou hast lost thy Love?

O surely earth's poor sunshine
now To thee mere gloom appears,
When He is gone who was its light
For Three-and-Thirty Tears.

Why do not thy sweet hands detain
His Feet upon their way?
O why doth not the Mother speak
And bid her Son to stay?

Ah no! thy love is rightful love,
From all selfseeking free
The change that is such gain to Him
Can be no loss to thee!

'Tis sweet to feel our Saviour's love,
To feel His Presence near ;
Yet loyal love His glory holds
A thousand times more dear.

Who would have known the way to love
Our Jesus as we ought,
If thou in varied joy and woe
Hadst not that lesson taught?

Ah! never is our love so pure
As when refined by pain,
Or when God's glory upon earth
Finds in our loss its gain!

True love is worship: Mother dear!
O gain for us the light To love,
because the creature's love
Is the Creator's right!

Father Frederick William Faber, 1849

IMAGE: Ascension of Christ, Benvenuto Tisi da Garofalo (1481-1559), 1520.

(H/T to that bunch of madcap fellows at
Rorate Caeli.)

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