Batter My Heart

This was the assigned reading for Sunday for my Lenten boot camp. One week in and I’m already falling behind. *sigh* But the point is continual progress. I’m going to fall a lot more, but if I can pick myself up and keep going, then I’m going to count it as a win. 🙂

Batter my heart, three person’d God; for, you
As yet but knocke, breathe, shine, and seeke to mend;
That I may rise, and stand, o’erthrow mee,’and bend
Your force, to breake, blowe, burn and make me new.
I, like an usurpt towne, to’another due, 5
Labour to’admit you, but Oh, to no end,
Reason your viceroy in mee, mee should defend,
But is captiv’d, and proves weake or untrue.
Yet dearely’I love you,’and would be loved faine,
But am betroth’d unto your enemie: 10
Divorce mee,’untie, or breake that knot againe;
Take mee to you, imprison mee, for I
Except you’enthrall mee, never shall be free,
Nor ever chast, except you ravish mee. — John Donne

I’m not the greatest at poetry. I can read it and find a meaning for myself, but I’m never quite sure if that’s the meaning that the author intended or not. What I take from this is that the narrator (and, by analogy, us) is caught in a passionate, interior struggle between his own corrupt desires, and his desire to enter into the Divine Life. He is begging God to do violence to his deformed heart, to wrest him away from the Evil One.

I love the intensity, the emotion, and the passion of this piece. And I resemble him who “proves weake or untrue” all too often.

Dear Lord, please batter my heart with Your love for me and abduct me away from the one who has me in chains. Break me down and overcome me with the persistence of the ocean waves, until I — your creature who is dust — submits and is formed into your image as the sand submits to the violence of the sea and the ugly disruption of the day’s is washed away, leaving a pristine beach at dawn.

Pristine Beach1

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