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TO CHRIST ON THE CROSS
from the Span­ish of Miguel de Gue­vara (15851646)
by Miguel de Gue­vara (15851646)
I am not moved to love you, Lord, to gain
the heaven you have promised in return.
And God, what moves me never to com­plain
is not the fear of hell where sin­ners burn.

You move me, Lord. It moves me when I see
they mock you as you draw your dying breath.
I’m moved before your body’s injury.
I’m moved by what you suf­fered, by your death.

At length what moves me is your love, and thus,
if heaven were not real, I’d still love you;
if hell untrue, I’d fear you nonethe­less.

You owe me noth­ing for lov­ing you like this,
since if I did not hope for what I do,
I’d love you, Lord, with equal ten­der­ness.


(orig­i­nally pub­lished in First Things, Novem­ber 2003)