Glory of God or Shame
by Michele Quoist
(From the Book – “Prayers, A Life”)
* * * * *
I have fallen Lord, once more.
I can’t go on and I’ll never succeed.
I am ashamed and I don’t dare look at you.
and yet I’ve struggled Lord,
for I knew you were right near me bending over me watching.
But temptation blew in over me like a hurricane and instead of looking at you
I turned my head away and step aside.
While you stood silent and sorrowful like the spurned fiancé
who sees his loved one carried off by his rival.
When the wind had died down as suddenly as it had arisen.
When the lighting ceased after proudly streaking the darkness.
All of a sudden I found myself alone ashamed, disgusted,
with my sin in my hands.
This sin that I selected as a customer selects his purchase.
This sin that I paid for and yet cannot return for the storekeeper is no longer there.
This tasteless sin,
this odious sin
This sin that now sickens me which I once wanted but I want no more.
That I imagined , sought, played with, fondled for a long time.
That I finally embraced while coldly by passing you
my arms out stretched my eyes and heart irresistibly drawn.
This sin that I grasped and consumed with gluttony, its mine now Lord.
But it possess me, as a spider webbed holds captive the fly,
Its mine and sticks to me.
It flows in my veins and fills my heart, it has slipped in everywhere,
as darkness slips into the forest at dust’s and fills all the patches of light.
Lord I can’t seem to get rid of it,
I run from it like the master of an unwanted and mangey dog
but it catches up to me and rubs joyfully against my legs.
Everyone must notice it I am so ashamed that I feel like crawling to avoid being seen.
I am ashamed of being seen by my friends,
I am ashamed of being seen by You.
For You loved me and I forgot You.
I forgot You because
I was thinking only of myself and one can’t think of several persons at once.
One must choose and I choose.
And now Lord,
your voice –your look – and your love hurt me.
They weight me down more than my sin.
Lord, please don’t look at me like that.
I am naked and dirty, down and shattered,
with no strength left and I dare not make anymore promises.
I can only stand bowed before you Lord.
Come on son, look up.
Isn’t it mainly your vanity that is wounded?
If you loved me you would grieved but you would trust me
Do you think there is a limit to God’s love?
Do you think for a moment I have stopped loving you?
But you still rely on yourself son.
You must rely on me.
Ask my pardon, and get up quickly.
You see, its not falling that is the worst but staying on the ground.