St Francis Q&A

Friday, April 24, 2009

"Hound of Heaven"

1) Youth Group Car Wash – Sat, April 25, 9 am – 12 noon. Please come support this fundraiser for our Youth Group.
2)Eucharistic Adoration, tonight, 7-8 pm., SAA Church. Please join us.
A few bloggers recently referred to a poem, “Hound of Heaven”, written by English poet Francis Thompson. Someone may have left a link to the 182-line poem; I’ll leave a link to the full poem which bloggers can access by clicking on today’s title.

It’s a fitting poem for many of us on this site! I have heard it many times from people that my returns to the seminary and ultimately, my priesthood, are because of the Hound of Heaven. God just doesn’t stop chasing us! I, for one, am glad that He doesn’t. We have had several bloggers express this type of “Hound of Heaven” experience, either explicitly or implicitly. Here is a critique of the poem as well as excerpts from the poem:

'The name is strange. It startles one at first. It is so bold, so new, so fearless. It does not attract, rather the reverse. But when one reads the poem this strangeness disappears. The meaning is understood. As the hound follows the hare, never ceasing in its running, ever drawing nearer in the chase, with unhurrying and imperturbed pace, so does God follow the fleeing soul by His Divine grace. And though in sin or in human love, away from God it seeks to hide itself, Divine grace follows after, unwearyingly follows ever after, till the soul feels its pressure forcing it to turn to Him alone in that never ending pursuit.’
—The Neumann Press Book of Verse, 1988

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, and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes I sped;
And shot, precipitated,
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmèd fears,
From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.
But with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbéd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
They beat—and a Voice beat
More instant than the Feet—
“All things betray thee, who betrayest Me.”

...Now of that long pursuit
Comes on at hand the bruit;
That Voice is round me like a bursting sea:
“And is thy earth so marred,
Shattered in shard on shard?
Lo, all things fly thee, for thou fliest Me!
Strange, piteous, futile thing!
Wherefore should any set thee love apart?
Seeing none but I makes much of naught”
(He said),“And human love needs human meriting:
How hast thou merited—Of all man’s clotted clay the dingiest clot?
Alack, thou knowest not
How little worthy of any love thou art!
Whom wilt thou find to love ignoble thee,
Save Me, save only Me?
All which I took from thee I did but take,
Not for thy harms,
But just that thou might’st seek it in My arms.
All which thy child’s mistakeFancies as lost, I have stored for thee at home:
Rise, clasp My hand, and come!”
Halts by me that footfall:
Is my gloom, after all,Shade of His hand, outstretched caressingly?
“Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,
I am He Whom thou seekest!
Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me.”


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