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JESUS AT BETHANY.

MARY MAGDALENE.

My God, Thy work complete!

At last I seek Thy grace.

Here at Thy holy feet,

To-day I choose my place.

From earth I sought in vain

For ease, or joy, or rest;

Sorrow and weary pain

Alone have filled my breast.

OUR LORD.

Yes, Magdalene, rest here,

With contrite, humble heart.

Men’s scorn no longer fear!

Choose thou the better part.

Hereafter live in peace,

Holy and pure, for Me;

And I shall never cease

To suffer, child, for thee.

MARY MAGDALENE.

It is too much! My sore

And burdened heart will break.

Could I be born once more,

Or die, for Thy sweet sake!

But I have caused Thy grief,

For me Thou art to die.

How shall I find relief

For all this misery?

OUR LORD.

Yes, many, many tears

Mine eyes have shed for thee

Yet speedily thy fears

Shall change to love for Me.

Thy soul, made pure again,

By one calm word of Mine,

In heaven, free from pain

Shall live a life divine.

MARY MAGDALENE.

Holy and stainless One!

How dare I seek Thy face?

What have I ever done

To win from Thee such grace?

I spurned in other years

Thy patient love for me;

Now, naught have I but tears

To offer Lord, to Thee.

OUR LORD.

Those pure, repentant tears

Shine brighter in My sight

Than any star appears

In radiant glow at night.

Than precious pearls more dear

Thy contrite heart to-day.

O sorrowing soul, draw near!

Thy guilt is washed away.

MARY MAGDALENE

Thou Lord of heaven and earth,

What marvelous mystery!

Hath nothing, then, the worth

To win Thy heart from me?

Behold, how full of charms

The hill, and sea, and sky,

The lambs that seek Thine arms

The rivers flowing by!

OUR LORD.

I see the lilies bloom,

Unsullied, fair, and white;

Yet My large heart hath room

For thy heart’s rose to-night.

That rose at last has won

My choice ‘mid flowerets rare

From all beneath the sun

I choose its blossoms fair.

MARY MAGDALENE.

The bird’s pure, warbling voice

Chants sweetest song to Thee;

The rippling brooks rejoice,

And praise Thee merrily;

The lily of the vale

Its perfumes hastes to bring

And petals, starlike, pale,

Before Thy feet to fling.

OUR LORD.

On ivoried, regal throne,

In glorious array,

The great King Solomon

Is less than these to-day;

The daisies in the field

Surpass his princely state;

And yet to thee they yield,

On thee they gladly wait!

MARY MAGDALENE.

A virginal train above,

With robes more white than snow,

Give thee their constant love,

And go where Thou dost go.

I, of a blighted life,

Offer the end to Thee,

From its frail morning rife

With bitter misery.

OUR LORD.

I love the fires of dawn,

So bright, so pure, so fair;

But ah! I also love

The radiant evening air.

The soul, if it repent,

Shall find at last its home,

There where the sinless tent,

’Neath heaven’s o’erspreading dome.

MARY MAGDALENE.

The angels there delight

To show their love for Thee.

Upon their phalanx white

Thy blessing ever be!

A sinful soul am I,

Who naught have merited.

Must Thou not pass me by?

Is mine the children’s bread?

OUR LORD.

Higher than angels mount,

Shalt thou ascend one day!

Close, close to Love’s own fount,

Shalt thou abide alway!

But first, on earth a while

In prayer live silently,

And thus gain souls from guile

To give their hearts to Me.

MARY MAGDALENE.

Oh! with what ardent zeal

My heart at last doth burn!

What deep desire I feel

To give Thy love return!

Yet souls to win for Thee,

Too weak, too blind, am I.

Lend Thou Thy heart to me; —

None then shall pass me by.

MARTHA.

Lord, one word I ask! Behold my sister there!

Now bid her, dearest Lord, to help me serve Thy meal.

She thinks not of my tasks; for me she hath no care;

She ought to wait on Thee; for me some pity feel!

OUR LORD.

Dear Martha, hostess kind and good!

Why should you thus your sister blame?

True, naught she thinks about My food,

Yet waits she on Me all the same.

MARTHA.

Ah, Lord divine and dear! ‘tis this surprises me.

Ought she not, then, awhile, to cease to dream and pray ?

Should she not choose what gift shall be her gift to Thee,

Who lavishly dost give to her and me each day?

OUR LORD.

Nay, Martha! listen to My Word!

Your faithful, generous love I know;

Yet doth your sister to her Lord

As faithful love and homage show,

MARTHA.

Deep myst’ries are these words that greet mine ears to-day.

I can not help but think, — oh! let me tell my thought!

Better to work good works than many prayers to say; —

The love I feel for Thee must into deeds be wrought.

OUR LORD.

True, Martha! works are needful here;

I came, Myself, to work with care;

Yet I would have this truth stand clear;

One must transfigure work with prayer.

MARTHA.

I knew that I was right; for, did I idly rest,

No charm should I possess in Thy benignant eyes;

So I made haste, to serve for Thee, my holy Guest,

Some pleasant food, to win Thy praise; — ‘tis all I prize.

OUR LORD.

Generous your ardent soul, and good!

Martha, your works show forth your worth;

Yet would you know the only food

That I desire to have on earth?

One single work is needful here!

Your sister, biding near My heart,

In love’s own prayer, divinely dear,

Hath chosen thus the better part.

Yes, this the part that is the best!

So I declare, and Truth am I.

Now, Martha, come and share her rest,

Her blessed rest, for Love am I!

MARTHA.

At last I understand! O Jesus, Love supreme,

Thy glance hath pierced my soul, Thy meaning now I see.

My gifts are all too small, my services a dream;

My heart the priceless gift that Thou wouldst have from me.

OUR LORD.

Yes, ‘tis thy loving heart I crave;

For this I came from heaven above.

The glories ‘tis My right to have,

I left, to seek your love, your love!

MARTHA.

Why, then, O Saviour-dear, if I may ask Thee this,

Why, within Simon’s house, didst greatly praise Marie?

For surely in her life she gave Thee pain, I wis;

And stormy days, in her, Thy sorrowing eyes must see

OUR LORD.

Martha! I understand her heart,

By pain and sin and sorrow rent;

For souls love much if pardoned much,

And sorely, sorely they repent.

MARTHA.

Amazed am I the more by Thy great love and power,

For naught know I, dear Lord, of sin’s wild strength and shame.

What do I owe Thee, then Who, from my earliest hour,

Hast shielded me in peace, and kept me free from blame?

OUR LORD.

A soul kept pure through all its days,­ —

Chief masterpiece of Love Divine, —

Should give Me rapturous, endless praise,

And wholly and alone be Mine.

Yes, Martha, you have charmed My sight,

By lifelong, stainless purity;

Yet, while your soul is spotless white,

Your sister hath humility!

MARTHA.

To win Thy love, dear Lord! through all my life to be,

Earth’s honors I will scorn, and all its pomps despise,

And Mary’s part will choose, while working still for Thee;

Thy love alone shall be of value in mine eyes.

OUR LORD.

Many the souls you thus shall claim

From sin’s dark haunts to seek My Face;

And you shall bear afar the flame

Of faith, and love’s immortal grace.

MARTHA AND MARY.

Thy voice, O Jesus Christ! is sweetest melody,

That wins our love to Thee, and sets our hearts on fire.

Abide Thou here alway, our Life on earth to be:

Abide Thou here alway, our hearts’ supreme Desire!

OUR LORD.

True joy have I at Bethany,

Where find I oft a welcome true;

And in my Father’s home shall be

A wondrous blessing granted you.

Yes, you the mystery comprehend

That makes drear earth My precious prize;

For souls of prayer are dear to Me,

A vast reward for sacrifice.

Beyond heaven’s joys I prize such souls!

Heaven’s glories, one day, yours shall be;

My goods your loving prayer controls,

Your Spouse am I eternally.

Here, faithful friends, ye gave Me meat;

But, in the feast at heaven’s board,

Ye shall sit down to food more sweet,

While on you waits your God and Lord.

July 29, 1895.

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