Saturday, May 15, 2010

love and devotion

Shakespeare wrote on of the most beautiful demonstrations of the power of love in The Merchant of Venice. Reading Portia's words for her beloved Bassanio may have inspired me in the past to seek out the person I can so freely and joyfully give my whole self to. But with the passing of time, my trials, and some help from outside sources, I've come to see that this description more aptly defines the spirit of love I ought to feel toward my Savior. (After all, the covenant relationship is often compared to a bridegroom and his bride.) This is love that brings obedience, that seeks to focus on the beloved. It is sweet and it is true devotion.

You see me, Lord Bassanio, where I stand,
    Such as I am: though for myself alone
    I would not be ambitious in my wish,
    To wish myself much better; yet, for you
    I would be trebled twenty times myself;
    A thousand times more fair, ten thousand times more rich;
    That only to stand high in your account,
    I might in virtue, beauties, livings, friends,
    Exceed account; but the full sum of me
    Is sum of something, which, to term in gross,
    Is an unlesson'd girl, unschool'd, unpractised;
    Happy in this, she is not yet so old
    But she may learn; happier than this,
    She is not bred so dull but she can learn;
    Happiest of all is that her gentle spirit
    Commits itself to yours to be directed,
    As from her lord, her governor, her king.
    Myself and what is mine to you and yours
    Is now converted: but now I was the lord
    Of this fair mansion, master of my servants,
    Queen o'er myself: and even now, but now,
    This house, these servants and this same myself
    Are yours, my lord (Act III, scene II, Lines 150-173)

I pray to be this love and devotion.

(Inspired by S. Michael Wilcox's "House of Glory")

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