This terrible Beauty haunts me still:
That I could love to the fullness of my senses,
Reach through the fires of perdition, into Heaven itself,
And seize upon divine desire;
Then, in the emptiness of self,
Be filled with ugliness and rage at Him whose image I wear.
And to hear His words, crucified and pure,
“It is finished”, I stagger.
For in lifting the same cross He bore,
I suddenly moan, “it is beginning,” and stagger on.
I’m not strong enough,
Not able to endure the pains of purity,
The ceaseless longings of unlimited love,
The pointed teeth of matchless mercy
Gnawing at my gutless pride.
Christ rose triumphant, the beginning and end;
And I shamble, ashen and void,
Beginning where He ended, and ending where I begin.
Life was lighter when all I had to bear was the world;
I find the cross too heavy.
So I oblige my weakness to crucify me
And die to Him who went before me.
He is strong and beautiful, and suffers to carry me
To where ugliness and rage bleed away.
(Christopher J. Freeman, March 4th, 2001)