St Peter Repentant, by Francisco Goya, c.1824
I have gone astray. I have failed you.
My heart shrinks with shame
when I hear your sweet, forgiving words.
When your clear, pure eyes look at me,
I turn my face away.
There was never a soul so hard,
a heart so cold as mine.
And yet I can feel your soft love
causing my soul to crumble
and my heart to melt.
Dear Lord, I have pursued false desires,
I have put my trust in worldly wisdom.
I have been besotted with the shallow pleasures.
I have been a faithless lover.
I cannot understand why you do not punish me,
beating me until my flesh is raw and bloody.
Instead you forgive me,
beckoning me back to your side.
Yes, I will come.
I will always be true.
I will always trust in your wisdom.
I will find pleasure only in your grace.
Henry Suso, c.1295-1366, German Dominican friar and mystic
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.
Cleanse your hands, you sinners,
and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
Be wretched and mourn and weep.
Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.