For the wondrous uniqueness of the path
walked by each person, my God,
I thank you.
For this beautiful refraction
of the undivided light of your love
in the prism of an unrepeatable, precious human life.
To accept the lot marked out for me,
given anew each day, each moment,
flowing unceasingly from your loving hands:
this is the secret of joy.
Another name we give it is gratitude.
The spirit of thankfulness
–this is the greatest miracle–
the kiss of faith and love,
fulfilling and enkindling hope.
The beautiful mystery, almost unspeakable,
is that your gift, always one and the same,
divine love, holy, radiant, and pure,
is so great that it can be poured out
uniquely in every heart,
flowing out in the unique story of every life.
Joy itself, my God, this flaming furnace
at the very heart of the Gospel,
is so many-hued and radiant, shining out,
or indeed, sheltering deep and hidden within,
that each persons manifests this, too,
in his or her own unrepeatable way.
One person’s joy may be that of a field of flowers,
colorful and bright, dancing in the wind,
or another a fine white wine, noble and refined,
or yet another may be that of a single rose,
profound and sober, wounding the heart with its beauty,
even as it grows amid thorns.
We often don’t understand the words you write, Lord,
in flowing script, or in jagged, short phrases,
the painting on which you work,
pressing down on the canvas of our life,
creating a mysterious yet beautiful work of art.
The art is your own, yet not your own alone;
you desire to teach us the secret–
for the story you write,
you write with our hand in your own.
Sometimes you control the movement more firmly
and ask simple, trusting acquiescence.
At other times you allow freedom
for us to exercise this art, in childlike boldness,
yet you work every gesture and every line
into this masterpiece of beauty
flowing from the union of two wills.
In both, the truth is the same:
a child in the care of the most loving Father.
One time, like an infant cradled in the Father’s tender arms,
letting him carry him wherever he knows best to go,
and the other, like a child walking on two frail feet,
yet with the hands of his Father
as sure, unfailing support.
Whatever the particulars of the story may be
–and we find the radiance of beauty
precisely in the depths of such particularity–
we know that it is a romance, a romance divine.