All I ask is that you strengthen my heart
All I ask is that you strengthen my heart,
so with your will my desires become fused;
the world, I know, cannot profit me at all:
give me strength to reject it completely;
fire me with some small spark of that delight
a good man feels when he thinks of you,
and then my greatly rebellious flesh
will be appeased, and give me some respite.
Help me, Lord, for I cannot take a step
without you, paralysed my limbs, or worse.
Old habits are so deep ingrained in me
that virtue’s taken on a bitter taste.
Lord, have mercy, and my nature reverse,
made evil with the heavy weight of sin.
And if my sins can be redeemed by death,
then this sweet penitence I’ll gladly make.
My fear of you is greater than my love;
this heavy sin before you I confess.
My hope is all confounded; within me
I feel a dreadful battle raging on:
I see that you are merciful and just,
that, heedless of merits, your will grace bestows;
as you choose, the gift you grant or you deny.
Shall I not tremble, when even good men fear?
If fear of God weighed upon righteous Job,
what then of me, floundering in sin
I think of Hell, where time has no meaning,
and feel as much terror as man can know.
The soul, predestined to contemplate our God,
rebels against him with blasphemous thoughts;
none can imagine the torments of Hell.
How should he feel who walks along that road?