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For Meditation - Two Poems on Doing God's Will

The Will of the Lord Be Done

O Lord, fulfill Thy Will,
Be the days few or many, good or ill:
Prolong them, to suffice
For offering up ourselves Thy sacrifice;
Shorten them if Thou wilt,
To make in righteousness an end of guilt.
Yea, they will not be long
To souls who learn to sing a patient song;
Yea, short they will not be
To souls on tiptoe to flee home to Thee.
O Lord, fulfill Thy Will;
Make Thy Will ours, and keep us patient still,
Be the days few or many, good or ill.

-- Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)

Lord Deliver Us
[Footnote #17]

From being anxious, or secure,
Dead clods of sadness, or light squibs of mirth,
From thinking that great courts immure
All, or no happiness, or that this earth
Is only for our prison framed,
Or that thou art covetous
To them whom thou lov'st, or that they are maimed
From reaching this world's sweet who seek thee thus
With all their might, good Lord, deliver us.

From needing danger, to be good,
From owing thee yesterday's tears to-day,
From trusting so much to thy blood,
That in that hope, we wound our soul away,
From bribing thee with alms, to excuse
Some sin more burdenous,
From light affecting, in religion, news, [Footnote #18]
From thinking us all soul, neglecting thus
Our mutual duties, Lord deliver us.

From tempting Satan to tempt us
By our connivance or slack company,
From measuring ill by vicious,
Neglecting to choke sin's spawn, vanity,
From indiscreet humility,
Which might be scandalous
And cast reproach on Christianity,
From being spies, or to spies pervious,
From thirst, or scorn of fame, deliver us...

When senses, which thy soldiers are,
We arm against thee, and they fight for sin,
When want, sent but to tame, doth war
And work despair a breach to enter in,
When plenty, God's image and seal,
Makes us idolatrous,
And love it, not him, whom it should reveal,
When we are moved to seem religious
Only to vent wit, Lord deliver us.

--John Donne (1572-1631)


17. Excerpted from the poem The Litany.

18. By "news", Donne is speaking of novelties and fads of religion.

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