On Inner Abandonment – Canticle V

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Jean-Joseph Surin

 Jean-Joseph Surin / Spirituality / Published Date:20 August 2021/Last Updated Date:17 September 2021


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Jean-Joseph Surin (1600-65), a French Jesuit, was ordained priest in 1626. He taught in Rouen and Bordeaux and was an exorcist in Loudun. He was one of the great mystics of the 17th century. Many were influenced by him: from Bossuet to Fénelon, from Teresa of Lisieux to Raïssa Maritain. His works spread far and wide. They include The Spiritual Catechism, The Foundations of the Spiritual Life and Spiritual Canticles (1657).

 

 

La Civilta Cattolica

I want to go out in the world,

where I will live as a lost child.

A wandering soul is my role,

having abandoned all my goods.

       Whether I live or whether I die, matters not;

It is enough that Love remains in me.

 

Devoid of honor, friends and wealth,

Love, I am subject to your mercy.

I can place my only hope

in the one pleasure of being assuredly yours.

 Whether I live or whether I die, matters not;

It is enough that Love remains in me.

 

Poor and happy, I shall seek my fortune

along a way I never knew.

My one home is with the Common Companion,

where I will always be well received.

 Whether I live or whether I die, matters not;

It is enough that Love remains in me.

 

If on some occasion after sunset

I am not safe within a lodging,

I will take my rest by the stump of a tree,

Glad I became lost along the way.

Whether I live or whether I die, matters not;

It is enough that Love remains in me.

 

If my dearest friends abandon me,

if my family thinks me mad,

I will sing in thanks for what they give me,

for Love would not forsake me.

 Whether I live or whether I die, matters not;

It is enough that Love remains in me.

 

I laugh at the sum of evil,

and am free of fear and desire.

If one must have either the best or the worst,

I leave that up to whoever wants to choose.

 Whether I live or whether I die, matters not;

It is enough that Love remains in me.

 

If I were to reach the shore of the sea

and Love allowed me to sail

on a ship without sails or stays,

I would go everywhere despite my enemies.

 Whether I live or whether I die, matters not;

It is enough that Love remains in me.

 

I only want to imitate the folly

of this Jesus, who on the Cross one day

chose to lose honor and life,

leaving everything to save Love.

 Whether I live or whether I die, matters not;

It is enough that Love remains in me.


DOI: La Civiltà Cattolica, En. Ed. Vol. 5, no.9 art. 5, 0921: 10.32009/22072446.0921.5