Friday, October 09, 2009

Peguy: The Mystery of Hope

Yesterday I was working through Graham Ward's (unfortunately neglected) book, Cultural Transformation and Religious Practice and there discovered a snippet from Charles Peguy's poem, "The Portal of the Mystery of Hope" (1912). It was like I'd been waiting my whole life to read these lines:

From The Portal of the Mystery of Hope

By Charles PĆ©guy

The faith that I love best, says God, is hope.

Faith doesn’t surprise me.

It’s not surprising.

I am so resplendent in my creation. . . .

That in order really not to see me these poor people would have to be blind.

Charity says God, that doesn’t surprise me.

It’s not surprising.

These poor creatures are so miserable that unless they had a heart of stone, how could they not have love for one another.

How could they not love their brothers.

How could they not take the bread from their own mouth, their daily bread, in order to give it to the unhappy children who pass by.

And my son had such love for them. . . .

But hope, says God, that is something that surprises me.

Even me.

That is surprising.

That these poor children see how things are going and believe that tomorrow things will go better.

That they see how things are going today and believe that they will go better tomorrow morning.

That is surprising and it’s by far the greatest marvel of our grace.

And I’m surprised by it myself.

And my grace must indeed be an incredible force.

~trans. David L. Schindler, Jr.