THE HOUND OF HEAVEN – By Francis Thompson, (1859-1907)

“The Hound of Heaven” is a 182-line poem written by English Catholic poet Francis Thompson (1859–1907).   The poem became famous and was the source of much of Thompson’s posthumous reputation.   The poem was first published in Thompson’s first volume of poems in 1893.   It was included in the Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse (1917).   Thompson’s work was praised by G K Chesterton and it was also an influence on J R R Tolkien, who presented a paper on Thompson in 1914.

This Christian poem has been described as follows:

“The name is strange.   It startles one at first.   It is so bold, so new, so fearless.   It does not attract, rather the reverse.   But when one reads the poem this strangeness disappears.   The meaning is understood.   As the hound follows the hare, never ceasing in its running, ever drawing nearer in the chase, with unhurrying and imperturbed pace, so does God follow the fleeing soul by His Divine grace.   And though in sin or in human love, away from God it seeks to hide itself, Divine grace follows after, unwearyingly follows ever after, till the soul feels its pressure forcing it to turn to Him alone in that never ending pursuit.”    Fr JFX. O’Conor, S.Jthe hound of heaven - francis thompson - 23 oct 2017

THE HOUND OF HEAVEN (1893)  – By Francis Thompson (16 December 1859 – 13 November 1907) (Richard Burton – a beautiful version)

I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the midst of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes I sped;
And shot, precipitated,
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmed fears,
From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.
But with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbèd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
They beat—and a Voice beat
More instant than the Feet—
‘All things betray thee, who betrayest Me’.

I pleaded, outlaw-wise,
By many a hearted casement, curtained red,
Trellised with intertwining charities;
(For, though I knew His love Who followed,
Yet was I sore a dread
Lest, having Him, I must have naught beside.)
But, if one little casement parted wide,
The gust of His approach would clash it to:
Fear wist not to evade, as Love wist to pursue.
Across the margent of the world I fled,
And troubled the gold gateway of the stars,
Smiting for shelter on their clanged bars;
Fretted to dulcet jars
And silvern chatter the pale ports o’ the moon.
I said to Dawn: Be sudden—to Eve: Be soon;
With thy young skiey blossom heap me over
From this tremendous Lover—
Float thy vague veil about me, lest He see!
I tempted all His servitors, but to find
My own betrayal in their constancy,
In faith to Him their fickleness to me,
Their traitorous trueness, and their loyal deceit.
To all swift things for swiftness did I sue;
Clung to the whistling mane of every wind.
But whether they swept, smoothly fleet,
The long savannahs of the blue;
Or, whether, Thunder-driven,
They clanged his chariot ‘thwart a heaven,
Plashy with flying lightnings round the spurn o’ their feet:—
Fear wist not to evade as Love wist to pursue.
Still with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbed pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
Came on the following Feet,
And a Voice above their beat—
‘Naught shelters thee, who wilt not shelter Me.’

I sought no more after that which I strayed
In face of man or maid;
But still within the little children’s eyes
Seems something, something that replies,
They at least are for me, surely for me!
I turned me to them very wistfully;
But just as their young eyes grew sudden fair
With dawning answers there,
Their angel plucked them from me by the hair.
Come then, ye other children, Nature’s—share
With me’ (said I) ‘your delicate fellowship;
Let me greet you lip to lip,
Let me twine with you caresses,
With our Lady-Mother’s vagrant tresses,
With her in her wind-walled palace,
Underneath her azured dais,
Quaffing, as your taintless way is,
From a chalice
Lucent-weeping out of the dayspring.’
So it was done:
I in their delicate fellowship was one—
Drew the bolt of Nature’s secrecies.
          I knew all the swift importings
On the wilful face of skies;
I knew how the clouds arise
Spumèd of the wild sea-snortings;
All that’s born or dies
Rose and drooped with; made them shapers
Of mine own moods, or wailful divine;
With them joyed and was bereaven.
I was heavy with the even,
When she lit her glimmering tapers
Round the day’s dead sanctities.
I laughed in the morning’s eyes.
I triumphed and I saddened with all weather,
Heaven and I wept together,
And its sweet tears were salt with mortal mine:
Against the red throb of its sunset-heart
I laid my own to beat, And share commingling heat;
But not by that, by that, was eased my human smart.
In vain my tears were wet on Heaven’s grey cheek.
For ah! we know not what each other says,
These things and I; in sound I speak—
Their sound is but their stir, they speak by silences.
Nature, poor stepdame, cannot slake my drouth;
Let her, if she would owe me,
Drop yon blue bosom-veil of sky, and show me
The breasts o’ her tenderness:
Never did any milk of hers once bless
My thirsting mouth.
Nigh and nigh draws the chase,
With unperturbed pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy;
And past those noisèd Feet
A voice comes yet more fleet—
‘Lo! naught contents thee, who content’st not Me.’

Naked I wait Thy love’s uplifted stroke!
My harness piece by piece Thou has hewn from me,
And smitten me to my knee;
I am defenceless utterly.
I slept, methinks, and woke,
And, slowly gazing, find me stripped in sleep.
In the rash lustihead of my young powers,
I shook the pillaring hours
And pulled my life upon me; grimed with smears,
I stand amidst the dust o’ the mounded years—
My mangled youth lies dead beneath the heap.
My days have crackled and gone up in smoke,
Have puffed and burst as sun-starts on a stream.
Yea, faileth now even dream
The dreamer, and the lute the lutanist;
Even the linked fantasies, in whose blossomy twist
I swung the earth a trinket at my wrist,
Are yielding; cords of all too weak account
For earth with heavy griefs so overplussed.
Ah! is Thy love indeed
A weed, albeit an amarinthine weed,
Suffering no flowers except its own to mount?
Ah! must—
Designer infinite!—
Ah! must Thou char the wood ere Thou canst limn with it?
My freshness spent its wavering shower i’ the dust;
And now my heart is as a broken fount,
Wherein tear-drippings stagnate, spilt down ever
From the dank thoughts that shiver
Upon the sighful branches of my mind.
Such is; what is to be?
The pulp so bitter, how shall taste the rind?
I dimly guess what Time in mists confounds;
Yet ever and anon a trumpet sounds
From the hid battlements of Eternity;
Those shaken mists a space unsettle, then
Round the half-glimpsed turrets slowly wash again.
But not ere him who summoneth
I first have seen, unwound
With glooming robes purpureal, cypress-crowned;
His name I know and what his trumpet saith.
Whether man’s heart or life it be which yields
Thee harvest, must Thy harvest-fields
Be dunged with rotten death?

Now of that long pursuit
Comes on at hand the bruit;
That Voice is round me like a bursting sea:
‘And is thy earth so marred,
Shattered in shard on shard?
Lo, all things fly thee, for thou fliest Me!

‘Strange, piteous, futile thing!
Wherefore should any set thee love apart?
Seeing none but I makes much of naught’ (He said),
‘And human love needs human meriting:
How hast thou merited—
Of all man’s clotted clay the dingiest clot?
Alack, thou knowest not
How little worthy of any love thou art!
Whom wilt thou find to love ignoble thee,
Save Me, save only Me?
All which I took from thee I did but take,
Not for thy harms,
But just that thou might’st seek it in My arms.
All which thy child’s mistake
Fancies as lost, I have stored for thee at home:
Rise, clasp My hand, and come!’

Halts by me that footfall:
Is my gloom, after all,
Shade of His hand, outstretched caressingly?
‘Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,
I am He Whom thou seekest!
Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me.’



Thought for the Day – 23 October – The Memorial of St John of Capistrano (1386-1456)

Thought for the Day – 23 October – The Memorial of St John of Capistrano (1386-1456)

John was a Franciscan friar and priest, but not of the good-natured variety of Franciscans that holds the popular imagination.   To describe John as zealous would be an understatement.   He walked the fine line between zeal and fanaticism, allowing God to write straight with the crooked lines he drew throughout his life.   Some might wonder why such a man is even a saint but he is, and the lesson in that might be that being a saint is about more than just being nice and friendly.   Sanctity is an uncanny quality that can be as off-putting as it is attractive.

We might be “put off” by a saint like John Capistrano.  Perhaps the lesson there is that if he made it, there is hope for us all.

John Hofer, a biographer of John Capistrano, recalls a Brussels organization named after the saint.   Seeking to solve life problems in a fully Christian spirit, its motto was: “Initiative, Organisation, Activity.”   These three words characterised John’s life.   He was not one to sit around.   His deep Christian optimism drove him to battle problems at all levels with the confidence engendered by a deep faith in Christ.

We are not Christians because we build and maintain institutions.   We are Christians because people experience in us an invitation to know Jesus Christ and find in His Church the reality of His divine life and presence.

St John of Capistrano, pray for us!st john of capistrano pray for us 2 - 23 oct 2017


Quote of the Day – 23 October – The Memorial of St John of Capistrano (1386-1456)

Quote of the Day – 23 October – The Memorial of St John of Capistrano (1386-1456)

Those who are called to the table of the Lord
must glow with the brightness that comes from
the good example of a praiseworthy and blameless life.
They must learn from the eminent teacher, Jesus Christ. .
“You are the light of the world” (see Matthew 5:14).
Now a light does not illumine itself but instead it diffuses
its rays and shines all around upon everything that comes
into its view..

St John of Capistranothose who are called - st john of capistrano - 23 oct 2017

Posted in MORNING Prayers, PRAYERS of the SAINTS

Our Morning Offering – 23 October

Our Morning Offering – 23 October

Prayer to God for Guidance
By St Pope John Paul II

With all my heart
I seek You;
let me not stray
from Your commands…
Open my eyes,
that I may consider
the wonders
of Your law.
I am a wayfarer
of earth;
hide not Your commands
from me…
Make me understand
the way of Your precepts,
and I will meditate
on Your wondrous deeds…
Your compassion
is great, O Lord…
Amenprayer to god for guidance - 22 oct 2017


One Minute Reflection – 23 October – The Memorial of St John of Capistrano (1386-1456)

One Minute Reflection – 23 October – The Memorial of St John of Capistrano (1386-1456)

You are the salt of the earth.……Matthew 5:13

REFLECTION – Remove from your lives the filth and uncleanness of vice.
Your upright lives must make you the salt of the earth for yourselves
and for the rest of humankind…….St John of Capistranoremove from your lives - st john of capistrano - 23 oct 2017

PRAYER – Heavenly Father, enable me both to practice and to preach Your Message to all those I meet.   Grant that – in accord with Your Son’s mandate – I may be the salt of the earth.   St John of Capistrano, you lived a zealous life endlessly becoming “salt” to all.
Please pray for us that we may grow in zeal to glorify the Kingdom by our lives! Amenst john pray for us - 23 oct 2017


Saint of the Day – 23 October – St John Capistrano OFM (1386-1456) – ‘the Soldier Saint’

Saint of the Day – 23 October – St John Capistrano OFM (1386-1456) Franciscan Friar and Priest, Confessor and Preacher.   Famous as a preacher, theologian and inquisitor, trained lawyer, he earned himself the nickname ‘the Soldier Saint’ when in 1456 at age 70 he led a crusade against the invading Ottoman Empire at the siege of Belgrade with the Hungarian military commander John Hunyadi, called the Athleta Christi (“Christ’s Champion”) by Pope Pius II.   Born in 1386 at Capistrano, Italy – 23 October 1456 at Villach, Hungary of natural causes.   He was Beatified on 19 December 1650 by Pope Innocent X and Canonised on 16 October 1690 by Pope Alexander VIII.   Patronages – • judges, jurists
• lawyers • military chaplains • military ordinariate of the Philippines • Hungary and Belgrade, Serbia.   Attributes – • man with a crucifix and lance, treading a turban underfoot • Franciscan with cross on his breast and carrying banner of the cross
• Franciscan preaching, angels with rosaries and IHS above him • Franciscan pointing to a crucifix he is holding.   He was buried in Ilok, Croatia.

St John of Capistrano Church in Ilok, Croatia

As was the custom of this time, John is denoted by the village of Capestrano, in the Diocese of Sulmona, in the Abruzzi region, Kingdom of Naples.   He studied law at the University of Perugia. In 1412, King Ladislaus of Naples appointed him Governor of Perugia.   When war broke out between Perugia and the Malatestas in 1416, John was sent as ambassador to broker a peace but Malatesta threw him in prison.   It was during this imprisonment that he began to think more seriously about his soul.   He decided eventually to give up the world and become a Franciscan Friar, owing to a dream he had in which he saw St Francis and was warned by the saint to enter the Franciscan Order. Having never consummated the marriage, he asked and received permission from his wife to annul the marriage and started studying theology with St Bernardine of Siena.

Together with St James of the Marches, John entered the Order of Friars Minor at Perugia on 4 October 1416.   At once he gave himself up to the most rigorous asceticism, violently defending the ideal of strict observance and orthodoxy, following the example set by Bernardine.   From 1420 onwards, he preached with great effect in numerous cities and eventually became well known.capistrano

Unlike most Italian preachers of repentance in the 15th century, John was effective in northern and central Europe – in German states of Holy Roman Empire, Bohemia, Moravia, Austria, Hungary, Croatia and Kingdom of Poland.   The largest churches could not hold the crowds, so he preached in the public squares—at Brescia in Italy, he preached to a crowd of 126,000.

When he was not preaching, John was writing tracts against heresy of every kind.   This facet of his life is covered in great detail by his early biographers, Nicholas of Fara, Christopher of Varese and Girlamo of Udine. While he was thus evangelising, he was actively engaged in assisting Bernardine of Siena in the reform of the Franciscan Order, largely in the interests of a more rigorous discipline in the Franciscan communities. Like Bernardine, he strongly emphasised devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus and, together with that saint, was accused of heresy on this account.   In 1429, these Observant friars were called to Rome to answer charges of heresy and John was chosen by his companions to speak for them.   They were both acquitted by the Commission of Cardinals appointed to judge the accusations.

John, in spite of this restless life, found time to work—both during the lifetime of his mentor, Bernardine and afterwards—on the reform of the Order of Friars Minor.   He also upheld, in his writings, speeches and sermons, theories of papal supremacy rather than the theological wranglings of councils (see Conciliar Movement).   John, together with his teacher, Bernardine, his colleague, James of the Marche, and Blessed Albert Berdini of Sarteano, are considered the four great pillars of the Observant reform among the Friars Minor.

After the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, the Ottoman Empire, under Sultan Mehmed II, threatened Christian Europe.   That following year Pope Callixtus III sent John, who was already aged seventy, to preach a Crusade against the invading Turks at the Imperial Diet of Frankfurt.   Gaining little response in Bavaria and Austria, he decided to concentrate his efforts in Hungary.   John succeeded in gathering together enough troops to march onto Belgrade, which at that time was under siege by Turkish forces.   In the summer of 1456, these troops, together with John Hunyadi, managed to raise the siege of Belgrade; the old and frail friar actually led his own contingent into battle.   This feat earned him the moniker of ‘the Soldier Priest’.

Although he survived the battle, John fell victim to the bubonic plague, which flourished in the unsanitary conditions prevailing among armies of the day.   He died on 23 October 1456 at the nearby town of Ilok, Kingdom of Croatia in personal union with Hungary (now a Croatian border town on the Danube).

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints – 23 October

Feast of the Most Holy Redeemer:  Celebrated in honur of the graces and benefits of the Redemption. It was instituted at Venice, Italy in 1576 in thanksgiving for the cessation of a plague and is now found only in the special calendar of some dioceses and religious orders, the Redemptorists being one of them.


St John of Capistrano (1386-1456) (Optional Memorial) –

St Allucio of Campugliano
Bl Anne-Joseph Leroux
St Amo of Toul
St Arethas of Negran
Bl Arnold Reche
St Benedict of Sebaste
St Clether
St Domitius
St Elfleda
St Ethelfleda
St Gratien of Amiens
St Henry of Cologne
St Ignatius of Constantinople
Bl John Angelo Porro
Bl John Buoni
St John of Syracuse
Oda of Aquitaine
St Phaolô Tong Viet Buong
St Romanus of Rouen
Bl Severinus Boethius
St Severinus of Cologne
Syra of Faremoutiers
St Theodoret of Antioch
Bl Thomas Thwing
St Verus of Salerno

Martyrs of Cadiz – 2 saints
Martyrs of Hadrianopolis – 2 saints
Martyrs of Nicaea – 3 saints
Martyrs of Valenciennes – 6 beati: A group of Urusuline and Briggittine nuns murdered together in the anti-Christian excesses of the French Revolution. They were guillotined on 23 October 1794 in Valenciennes, Nord, France and Beatified on 13 June 1920 by Pope Benedict XV.
• Anne-Joseph Leroux
• Clotilde-Joseph Paillot
• Jeanne-Louise Barré
• Marie-Augustine Erraux
• Marie-Liévine Lacroix
• Marie-Marguerite-Joseph Leroux

Martyred in the Spanish Civil War including Martyrs of Manzanares (7 beati):
• Agapit Gorgues Manresa
• Agustín Nogal Tobar
• Andrés Navarro Sierra
• César Elexgaray Otazua
• Cristóbal González Carcedo
• Dorinda Sotelo Rodríguez
• Eduardo Valverde Rodríguez
• Felipe Basauri Altube
• José María Fernández Sánchez
• Juan Nuñez Orcajo
• Leonardo Olivera Buera
• Manuel Navarro Martínez
• Roque Guillén Garcés
• Toribia Marticorena Sola