Recently, while working on updating our compilations of poems for Holy Week and Good Friday, I came across this powerful poem by Christina Rossetti, which is very appropriate for Lenten reading and reflection. It echos some of my own emotions and spiritual struggles of this Lent, when I have known all too well the truth of Apostle Paul’s lament in Romans 7 – leaving the good I want to do undone, and doing the evil that I do not want to do. Thanks be to God that we have a Savior!
Who Shall Deliver Me?
God strengthen me to bear myself;
That heaviest weight of all to bear,
Inalienable weight of care.
All others are outside myself;
I lock my door and bar them out
The turmoil, tedium, gad-about.
I lock my door upon myself,
And bar them out; but who shall wall
Self from myself, most loathed of all?
If I could once lay down myself,
And start self-purged upon the race
That all must run ! Death runs apace.
If I could set aside myself,
And start with lightened heart upon
The road by all men overgone!
God harden me against myself,
This coward with pathetic voice
Who craves for ease and rest and joys
Myself, arch-traitor to myself ;
My hollowest friend, my deadliest foe,
My clog whatever road I go.
Yet One there is can curb myself,
Can roll the strangling load from me
Break off the yoke and set me free.
— by Christina Georgina Rossetti