Saturday, May 12, 2012
As air becomes the medium for light when the sun rises,
And as wax melts from the heat of fire,
So the soul drawn to that light is resplendent,
Feels self melt away,
Its will and actions no longer its own.
So clear is the imprint of God
That the soul, conquered, is conqueror;
Annihilated, it lives in triumph.
What happens to the drop of wine
That you pour into the sea?
Does it remain itself, unchanged?
It is as if it never existed.
So it is with the soul: Love drinks it in,
It is united with Truth,
Its old nature fades away,
It is no longer master of itself.
The soul wills and yet does not will:
Its will belongs to Another.
It has eyes only for this beauty;
It no longer seeks to possess, as was its wont -
It lacks the strength to possess such sweetness.
The base of this highest of peaks
Is founded on nichil,
Shaped into nothingness, made one with the Lord.
~ Jacopone da Todi
an excerpt from Let Annihilation and Charity Lead
Jacopone Benedetti, was born into a wealthy family in the central Italian town of Todi. As a young man, he married and started a career as a notario, combining the skills of an accountant and a lawyer. Legend has it that when a balcony collapsed at a wedding feast, killing his wife, he abandoned his career, gave away all his possessions, and become a wandering penitent. He eventually joined the Franciscan Order, and discovered a gift for poetry. He was imprisoned for five years for his opposition to the election of Pope Boniface VIII, and continued to write deeply personal and mystical poetry on prison. He was released on the death of Boniface, and retired to a hermitage near Orvieto, where he died in 1306.