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A WORK OF LOVE.

A CANTICLE FOR THE SACRISTANS OF CARMEL,
AND FOR THOSE SISTERS WHOSE OFFICE IT IS TO MAKE
THE ALTAR BREADS.

What from our lot could us entice!

’Tis ours the altar-breads to make

For that tremendous sacrifice

Where Christ is offered for our sake.

Heaven will be here, on sinful earth,

When hid beneath these veils of snow:

And God be here, in a new birth,

Come down to dwell with us below!

No queens are reigning anywhere

In joy as great as ours to-day

Our very work is love and prayer,

And binds our Spouse to us alway.

Earth’s highest honors seem as naught,

Beside this service of Heaven’s King;

Beside this peace, with blessings fraught

That Jesus sends on dove-like wing.

A holy envy fills our hearts

For this fair work of our delight:

For these small snow-white hosts, whose arts

Shall hide the Lamb of God from sight.

Yet we His brides, His chosen, are;

Our Friend is He, our Spouse is He!

And hosts are we, that He, our Star,

Transforms to light and ecstasy.

The priest’s high lot is like our own,

In this our daily work for God.

Transformed by Him, we tread alone

The very path that He once trod.

By prayers, by acts of love divine,

His brave apostles we must aid;

With them our grace we must combine,

And fight their battles unafraid.

God, hid beneath these snowy veils,

Will hide Him, too, our hearts within.

O miracle! our prayer prevails,

With Him, for mercy upon sin.

Our joy, our glory, our delight,

O Jesus! is this work for Thee.

Thy Heaven is these ciboriums bright

Our prayers shall fill with souls for Thee.

November, 1896.

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