Extract from the Prayer to Christ, by Anselm of Canterbury.
My Lord and my Creator,
you bear with me and nourish me—
be my helper.
I thirst for you, I hunger for you, I desire you,
I sigh for you, I covet you:
I am like an orphan deprived of the presence of a very kind father,
who, weeping and wailing, does not cease to cling to
the dear face with his whole-heart.
So, as much as I can, though not as much as I ought,
I am mindful of your passion,
your buffeting, your scourging, your cross, your wounds,
how prepared for burial and buried;
and also I remember your glorious Resurrection,
and wonderful Ascension.
All this I hold with unwavering faith,
and weep over the hardship of exile,
hoping in the sole consolation of your coming,
ardently longing for the glorious contemplation of your face.
Alas for me, that I was not able to see
the Lord of Angels humbled to converse with men,
when God, the one insulted,
willed to die that the sinner might live.
Alas that I did not deserve to be amazed,
in the presence of a love marvellous and beyond our grasp.
Why, O my soul, were you not there
to be pierced by a sword of bitter sorrow
—when you could not bear
the piercing of the side of your Saviour with a lance?
Why could you not bear to see
the nails violate the hands and feet of your Creator
Why did you not see with horror
the blood that poured out of the side of your Redeemer ?
Why were you not drunk with bitter tears
when they gave him bitter gall to drink?
Why did you not share
the sufferings of the most pure virgin,
his worthy mother and your gentle lady
what can I say about the fountains
that flowed from your most pure eyes
when you saw your only Son before you,
bound, beaten and hurt?
What do I know of the flood
that drenched your matchless face,
when you beheld your Son, your Lord, and your God,
stretched on the cross without guilt,
when the flesh of your flesh
was cruelly butchered by wicked men?
How can I judge what sobs troubled your most pure breast
when you heard, 'Woman, behold your son'
and the disciple, 'Behold, your mother,'
when you received as a son
the disciple in place of the master,
the servant for the lord?
Giovanni Pierluigi Palestrina (1524-91). Kyrie from Missa Papae Marcelli
The Tallis Scholars, dir. Peter Phillips. 1980
May God our Redeemer show us compassion and love. Amen.