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Faith of our fathers; expressed in poetry

Christ on the Cross with the Virgin
Christ on the Cross with the Virgin
Rafael, public domain

We can learn a lot about the early church by studying the writings of the saints. The Catholic Church dates back to St. Peter and St. Paul. It was founded by Jesus himself when he handed the keys to the kingdom to Peter.

What did the early Church believe? The following Catholic poems were written by the saints themselves. They shared there faith and spirituality with the world by writing about their love for Jesus! Many of their poems have been sung as hymns throughout the history of the church.

Meditation is simply reflecting on words or pictures and letting God guide your thoughts. Meditate on the poetry of the Saints. Let them be your guide during your pilgrimage on earth.

The poetry in this list is arranged from oldest to most recent.

Ever Ancient, Ever New
Ever Ancient, Ever New Catholic Clip Art; public domain image

Ever Ancient, Ever New

Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new,, late have I loved you!

You were within me, but I was outside and it was there that I searched for you.

In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created.  You were with me, but I was not with you. 

Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would not have been at all.

You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness.  You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness.

You breathed your fragrance on me;  I drew breath and now pant for you.

I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more.  You touched me, and I burned for your peace.

St. Augustine of Hippo (d. 430)

Feast day August 28th

 

Breastplate of St. Patrick
Breastplate of St. Patrick Catholic slip art

Breastplate of St. Patrick

I bind unto myself today the strong Name of the Trinity.  By invocation of the same, the Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this day to me, for ever.  By power of faith, Christ's incarnation; His baptism in the Jordan river; His death on the Cross for my salvation;  His bursting from the spiced tomb.  His riding up the heavenly way;  His coming at the day of doom;  I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power of the great love of the cherubim; the sweet "well done" in judgment hour.  The service of the seraphim, confession and faith, Apostles, word, the Patriarchs prayers, the Prophets scrolls, all good deeds done unto the Lord and purity of virgins souls.

I bind unto myself today the virtues of the starlit heaven, the glorious sun's life-giving ray, the whiteness of the moon at evening, the flashing of the lightning free, the whirling winds tempestuous shocks, the stable earth, the deep salt sea, around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today, the power of God to hold and lead, His eye to watch, His might to slay, His ear to hearken to my need.  The wisdom of my God to teach, His hand to guide, His shield to ward, the Word of God to give me speech, His heavenly Host to be my guard.

Against the demon snares of sin, the vice that gives temptation force, the natural lusts that war within, the hostile men that mar my course; or few or many, far or nigh, In every place and in all hours, against their fierce hostility, I bind to me these holy powers.

Against all Satan's spells and wiles, Against false words of heresy, Against the  knowledge that defiles, Against the heart's idolatry, Against the wizard's evil craft, Against the death wound and the burning, the choking wave and the poisoned shaft.  Protect me Christ, till Thy returning.

Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in quiet, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that loves me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name, the strong Name of the Trinity; By invocation of the same, the Three in One and One in Three, of whom all nature hath creation, Eternal Father, Spirit, Work; Praise to the Lord of my salvation.  Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

St. Patrick of Ireland  (387-461)

Feast day March 17

Prayer before the Crucifix
Prayer before the Crucifix Catholic Clip Art, public domain

Prayer before the Crucifix

Most high, Glorious God,

let your light fill the shadows of my heart,

and grant me, Lord,

true faith, certain hope, perfect love,

awareness and knowing that I may fulfill your holy will.

St. Francis of Assisi

 

God would kneel down

I think God might be a little prejudiced.  For once He asked me to join Him on a walk through this world,

and we gazed into every heart on this earth, and I noticed He lingered a bit longer before any face that was weeping

and before any eyes that were laughing

and sometimes when we passed a soul in worship

God too would kneel down.

I have come to learn:  God adores His creation.

St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1216)

Feast day October 4

Place your mind before the mirror of Eternity
Place your mind before the mirror of Eternity Catholic Clip Art, public domain

Place your mind before the mirror of Eternity

Place your mind before the mirror of eternity!

Place your soul in the brilliance of glory!

Place your heart in the figure of the divine substance!

And transform your whole being in the image of the Godhead itself through contemplation!

So that you too may feel what His friends feel as they taste the hidden sweetness which God Himself has reserved from the beginning for those who love Him.

St. Clare of Assisi (1194-1253)

Feast day August 11

 

Pange linque
Pange linque Catholic slip art

Pange linque

Sing, my tongue, the Savior's glory, of His flesh the mystery sing; of the Blood, all price exceeding, shed by our immortal King, destined, for the worlds' redemption, from a noble womb to spring. 

Of a pure and spotless Virgin born for us on earth below, He, as Man, with man conversing, stayed, the seeds of truth to sow.  Then He closed in solemn order wondrously His life of woe. 

On the night of that Last Supper, seated with His chosen band, He the Pascal victim eating.  first fulfills the Law's command; then as Food to the Apostles gives Himself with His own hand. 

Word-made-flesh, the bread of nature by His word to Flesh He turns; wine into His Blood He changes; what though sense no change discerns?  Only be the heart in earnest, faith her lesson quickly learns.

Down in adoration falling, this great Sacrament we hail, Over ancient forms of worship, newer rites of grace prevail;  Faith will tell us Christ is present, when our human senses fail.

To the everlasting Father, and the Son who made us free, and the Spirit, God preceding from them each eternally,  Be salvation, honor, blessing, might and endless majesty.

Amen, Alleluia

 

St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)

Feast day January 28

Consumed by Grace
Consumed by Grace Catholic Clip Art, Public Domain

Consumed by Grace

I first saw God when I was a child, six years of age.  The cheeks of the sun were pale before Him, and the earth acted as a shy girl, like me.

Divine light entered my heart from His love that did never fully wane.

Though indeed, dear, I can understand how a person's faith can at times flicker,

for what is the mind to do with something that becomes the minds ruin, a God that consumes us in His grace.

I have seen what you want; it is there, a Beloved of infinite tenderness.

St. Catherine of Siena (1347-1380)

Feast day April 29

Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough Catholic slip art

Your grace is enough

Take Oh Lord, and receive my entire liberty, my understanding and my whole will.

All that I am and all that I possess you have given me.

I surrender it all to you to be disposed of according to your will.

Give me only your love and your grace;

with these I will be rich enough and will desire nothing more.  Amen

St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556)

Feast day July 31

Christ has no body but yours
Christ has no body but yours Catholic Clip Art, public domain

Christ has no body but yours

Christ has no body now on earth but yours,

no hands but yours

no feet but yours,

Yours are the eyes through which is to look out Christ's compassion to the world;

Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good.

Yours are the hands with which he is to bless men now.

St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582)

Feast day October 15

Love's Living Flame
Love's Living Flame Catholic Clip Art

Love's Living Flame

O loves living flame, tenderly you wound my soul's deepest center!

Since you no longer evade me, will you, please, at least conclude...rend the veil of this sweet encounter!

O cautery so tender!  O pampered wound!  O soft hand!  O touch so delicately strange,  Tasting of eternal life and canceling all debts!  Killing, death into life you change!

Lamps of fiery love, In whose shining transparency the deep cavern of the senses, blind and obscure, Warmth and light, what strange flares, gives with the lover's caresses!

How tame and loving your memory rises in my breast.  Where secretly only you live.  And in you fragrant breathing, Full of goodness and grace, How delicately in love you make me feel!

St. John of the Cross (1542-1591)

Feast day Dec. 14

Just Because You are My God

Oh, my God, I want to love you not that I might gain eternal heaven,

Nor escape eternal hell, But, Lord, to love you just because you are my God.

Grant me to give to you and not to count the cost, to fight for you, and not to mind the wounds, to labor and to ask for no reward except the knowledge that I serve my God.

St. John of the Cross

 

My Song for Today
My Song for Today Catholic Clip Art, public domain

My Song for Today

My life is but an instant, a passing hour.  My life is but a day that escapes and flies away.  Oh, my God!  You know that to love you on earth,

I only have today!

Oh, I love you, Jesus!  My soul yearns for you.  For just one day remain my sweet support.  Come reign in my heart, give me your smile. 

Just for today!

Lord, what does it matter if the future is gloomy?  To pray for tomorrow, oh no, I cannot!  Keep my heart pure, cover me with your shadow. 

Just for today.

If I think about tomorrow, I fear my fickleness, I feel sadness and worry rising up in my heart.  But I'm willing, my God, to accept trial and suffering.

Just for today.

St. Therese' of Lisieux (1873-1897)

Feast day October 1

 

Life, time, and Grace
Life, time, and Grace Cathoolic Clip Art, public domain

Life, time, and Grace

O, life so dull and monotonous, how many treasures you contain!

When I look at everything with the eyes of faith no two hours are alike, and the dullness and monotony disappear.

The grace which is given me in this hour will not be repeated in the next.

It may be given me again, but it will not be the same grace.

Time goes on, never to return again.

Whatever is enclosed in it will never change; it seals with a seal for eternity.

St. Faustina (1905-1938)

Feast day October 5

St. Teresa of Calcutta
St. Teresa of Calcutta Catholic slip art

St. Teresa of Calcutta


People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered; Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives;  Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and true enemies;  Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;  Be honest anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;  Build anyway. 

If you find serenity and happiness, They may be jealous; Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;  Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough; Give the world the best you've got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God;  It was never between you and them anyway.

St. Teresa of Calcutta (1916-1997)

Feast day Sept. 5