Monday, June 3, 2013

Favorite Poetry: Litany for the Feast of the Most Sacred Heart (Part 1)

In honor of the month of the Sacred Heart, I thought I'd post a bit of this very special poem apparently composed for the feast, which, by the way, is this Friday.  It is very long, so I won't post all of it today - I know that you people grow faint of heart at the prospect of very long pieces of writing.  (And I'm not necessarily blaming you - I get the same way sometimes.)  So I shall post some of it now and then the rest on Friday.

As I was writing it out, I was reflecting that non-Catholics or weak Catholics might find it a bit bizarre or over-the-top.  Well --- all I have to say to that is: let no one say that Catholicism is cold, sterile, or repressive. You can't read this and tell me that the religion inspiring it is repressive.
I think it's one of those poems that have to be pondered - I know a priest who made it the subject of his daily meditations, a stanza every day.  That's my favorite kind of poetry.  And its imagery is just perfect.  Agh, just read it already.  More coming on Friday.

Litany for the Feast of the Most Sacred Heart
by Gertrud von Le Fort 

Now I will pray the ardour of the soul as a great litany is
prayed.  Now I will raise the song of praise that is not sung
but loved.  Blood-red secret of all that is:
Holy Heart, divine Heart, almighty Heart.
Be loved, Love, eternal Love, be thou eternally loved.

Hearth in the dark of the frozen world,
Be loved, Love!
Flame-shadow over all the false brightness of the world,
Be loved, Love!
Burning sign in all the false rest of the world;
Lonely Heart, flaming Heart, unquenchable Heart:
Be loved, everlasting Love.

Heart deep as the nights that have no face:
Be loved!
Heart strong as the waves that have no shores:
Be loved!
Heart tender as little children that have no bitterness:
Be everlastingly loved.

Rose from the flower-beds of the invisible,
Rose from the chalice of the humble maiden,
Blossoming rose-bush, in which heaven and earth are entwined,
Be loved, everlasting Love!

Royal Heart in the flowing mantle of Thy blood:
Be loved!
Brother-Heart in the wild mockery of the thorny crown:
Be loved!
Breaking Heart in the stark ornament of Thy death wounds:
Heart dethroned, Heart betrayed, Heart cruelly martyred:
Be loved, everlasting Love, be everlastingly loved.

Heart before whom the mighty find their knees,
We ask Thee for Thy love.
Heart before whom the careless find their tears:
We ask Thee for Thy love.
Herat in whom thieves and murderers yet find forgiveness,
Great Heart, Heart of mercy, Heart of glory, 
We ask Thee for Thy love!


  1. Ooo, that was good. Von le Fort knows what's about!

  2. I love the poem! It is sooooooo beautiful!

  3. I awarded you at my blog. I would love to hear from you. :)

    ♥ Aspirer


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