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How good to those who seek!

O hope of every contrite heart,
O joy of all the meek,
To those who fall, how kind Thou art!
How good to those who seek!

The Lord is kind to those who fall, as the Samaritan was kind to the man who had fallen among thieves; but He is good beyond description, bounteous, to those who seek. We move from contrition to meekness, from hope in distress to a energetic pilgrimage toward the kingdom of God.

The fourth stanza picks up the motif of seeking and fulfills it in finding:

But what to those who find? Ah, this
No tongue nor pen can show:
The love of Jesus, what it is
None but His loved ones know.

Again we have what cannot be described in words. But there’s a nugget of philosophical wisdome here. How can anyone know what love is by description? Only the lover can know; it is knowledge gleaned from a whole way of being. The same is true of the beloved; all the more, infinitely more, when the other is Jesus.

[Lyrics above are from the hymn: Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee, translated by Edward Caswall (1849)]

—from the book Real Music: A Guide to the Timeless Hymns of the Church (book and CD) by Anthony Esolen, Ch. 6: Our Love for Jesus


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