How Late I Came

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How late I came to love you,
O Beauty so ancient and so fresh,
how late I came to love you.

You were within me,
yet I had gone outside to seek you.

Unlovely myself,
I rushed toward all those lovely things you had made.
And always you were with me.
I was not with you.

All those beauties kept me far from you –
although they would not have existed at all
unless they had their being in you.

You called,
you cried,
you shattered my deafness.

You sparkled,
you blazed,
you drove away my blindness.

You shed your Fragrance,
and I drew in my breath and I pant for you,
I tasted and now I hunger and thirst.
You touched me, and now I burn with longing.

~St. Augustine 

 

 

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God spoke
but I didn’t listen.
God fed me
but I chose junk food.
God showed me beauty
but I couldn’t see Him.
God smelled like the finest rose
but I turned away.
God touched me
but I was numb.

So He sent His Son
as Word and food,
beauty and fragrance,
reaching out broken hands
so I would know
my hunger and thirst
is only and always
for Him alone.

 

 

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3 thoughts on “How Late I Came

  1. This has always been one of my very favorite poems. Thank you, Emily, for your all-knowing, understanding comment and for adding it here for all to see and enjoy its truths. After discovering and reading it several times, it became very personal to me. The confession of a soul trying to go through life without God’s Presence stopped me dead in my tracks. I realized that I had been living my life all wrong – trying to cope with things beyond my control as I was unknowingly, helplessly mired in spiritual poverty and a self-actualizing sense of independence – needing no one to share my journey with me – to protect me from myself, especially in difficult, sometimes heartbreaking times. Augustine’s humble, exquisite ‘confession’ was the wake-up call that I so desperately needed. Since that time many years ago, I have shared his timely thoughts about seeking God’s Presence in our lives,

    Augustine’s poem and its message echo portions of Psalm 139 and Francis Thompson (1859-1907) in his poem,The Hound of Heaven..
    It begins:

    “I fled Him, down the nights and down the days; I fled Him, down the arches of the years; I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways of my own mind; and in the mist of tears I hid from Him…I sped and shot, precipitated, down Titanic glooms of chasmed fears, from those strong Feet that followed, followed after.
    and shot, precipitated, down Titanic glooms of chasmed fears, from those strong Feet that followed, followed after.
    But with unhurrying chase, and unperturbed pace, deliberate speed, majestic instancy, they beat – and a Voice beat more instant than the Feet — ‘All things betray thee, who betrayest me.’ “

    Liked by 1 person

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