TO CHRIST ON THE CROSS
from the Spanish of Miguel de Guevara (1585−1646)
by Miguel de Guevara (1585−1646)
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)