God’s little hope

December 18, 2006

Read this excerpt from Martin E. Marty’s column.

Poem is called, “The Mystery of the Holy Innocents” by Charles Péguy.

I am, God says, Master of the Three Virtues.
Faith is a loyal wife.
Charity is a fervent mother.
But hope is a very little girl.

I am, God says, the Master of the Virtues.

It is Faith who holds fast through century upon century.

It is Charity who gives herself through centuries of centuries.

But it is my little hope
Who gets up every morning.
Says good-day to us . . .
I am, God says, the Lord of the Virtues.

It is Faith who resists through century upon century.
It is Charity who yields through century upon century.
But it is my little hope
Who every morning
Says good-day to us . . .

It is my little hope
who goes to sleep every evening
In her child’s bed,
after having said a good prayer,
and who wakes every morning and gets up
and says her prayers with new attention . . .

You believe that children know nothing,
And that parents and grown-up people know something.
Well, I tell you it is the contrary
(It is always the contrary).
It is the parents, it is the grown-up people who know nothing.
And it is the children who know
Everything.

For they know first innocence,
Which is everything.

The world is always inside out, God says.
And in the contrary sense.
Happy is he who remains like a child
And who like a child keeps
His first innocence . . .

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