What is the most profound question we can ever ask?
In my prayer one evening time,
I asked my Lord to show to me
The mystery of all things living,
And my own place in eternity.
He looked on me with tender love,
He spoke and gently chided me:
“At this time for you dear child,
Such knowledge is too much for thee.”
His loving gaze emboldened me.
I pestered still and would not bend:
“Who am I? What is my source,
And what will be my final end?”
He gently kissed my furrowed brow:
“You cannot carry such a weight.
Learn to live the lifelong doubts,
And let the final answers wait.”
In my pride I countered thus:
“My sweet Lord I beg you show,
If answers are beyond my ken,
Tell me the questions I should know.”
“To know the proper questions,
Is wisdom’s start.” He warmly smiled.
“This life-knowledge is so profound,
It cannot be bought or taught, my child.”
“Can you run before you walk?
Can you know before experiencing?
Can you feel without the texture,
Wrought by pain and sorrow’s burnishing?”
“Second hand is poor relation;
A question posed is all very well;
Classroom talk is preparation;
Life and living, time must tell.”
“In the journey that is your life,
Shortcuts bring scant rewards.
Each moment lived has a value,
For the path that points inwards.”
“Know this child, and ponder deep,
Take a precious jewel from my lips.
Read this signpost for the route:
You are a tissue of relationships.”
“What then the crucial question?
I will frame it for your sake:
Father, who do we belong to?
There it is – accept and take.”
His gaze now beyond all telling,
I was infused with spirit glow;
I heard yet failed completely,
To understand, to grasp and know.
“This then the heart of the matter;
You hear and maybe take it in;
But it’s who and what you are,
Tempered with life’s rush and din.”
I sensed a blessing had been posted,
A treasure high and precious,
To be tasted and long savoured,
Both for me and all of us.
“Forgive me Lord for I persist,
But surely here the answer’s clear?
For I know and declare fortright,
I belong to You, Oh Father dear!”
“Child, your passion does you credit;
Your love for me is plain to see;
Yet speak from head knowledge,
You talk of ‘I’ when it is ‘we’.”
“Let me tease you with a puzzle…
Which of these two rules is greater:
Love of God or love of neighbour?
Does one come first or belater?”
I bowed my head in humble heed;
I yearned to say ‘love of God’, above
All things, even kinsfolk, but without
The human family, where is love?
“Patience, then, and deepest peace,
Precious, darling, special one.
Live the wisest questions boldly,
Walk arm in arm with my Son.”
“Remember that for life’s journey,
I never leave you in the lurch;
Walk together with your brethren,
Lo! My spirit to the Church!”