A poem by Christina Rossetti today to mark this great solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, which is also my fortieth birthday. The poem serves as a timely reminder to me that amidst my own ‘human errors manifold’, the gift that is a dual vocation and ministry of priest and husband requires me constantly to ‘launch out into the deep’, delving into the depths of the heart and soul in order to discover the great mystery of who God created and intends us to be in relation to Himself. This will, by necessity, involve ‘a fall, a rise, [and] a scaling’ of Heaven in order to obtain our ‘humbled heart’, and so, in time, pray God, to pass into that place where, ‘human-eyed’, we will behold the Beatific Vision for all eternity. Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us in this great endeavour of life.
‘Launch out into the deep’, Christ spake of old
To Peter: and he launched into the deep;
Strengthened should tempest wake which lay asleep,
Strengthened to suffer heat or suffer cold.
Thus, in Christ's Prescience: patient to behold
A fall, a rise, a scaling Heaven’s high steep;
Prescience of Love, which deigned to overleap
The mire of human errors manifold.
Lord, Lover of Thy Peter, and of him
Beloved with craving of a humbled heart
Which eighteen hundred years have satisfied;
Hath he his throne among Thy Seraphim
Who love? or sits he on a throne apart,
Unique, near Thee, to love Thee human-eyed?
Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894
Fr Lee Kenyon