He is strong, for he was broken
On the torture wheel of pain;
He is silent, who has spoken
Hasty judgments, aye, and vain;
He is rich, since he knew losses,
True, by pledges once unkept,
He stands straight, for he bore crosses
And is glad, for that he wept.
He knows beauty, through his blindness,
He is humble, who knew pride;
Tender for his soul’s unkindness,
And the Christ he once denied ;
He is pure for muck and wallow
Where he lay and was unclean,
And sincere for every hollow
Sham and pretense that was mean.
He knows love, for that his spirit
Was unlovely and was mean;
For that fire that swept to sear it
Is that calm soul and serene;
He is whole for waves that battered,
Beat and buffeted and cast
Him upon the shore, a shattered,
Broken, bleeding thing at last.
He is free for that once prison
And the wings that beat on bars;
For that Hell whence he is risen
Is the fellowship with stars;
And that bowed head in its meekness
Was defiant of the laws
He knows courage for the weakness
And the cowardice that was.
How but crushed and bruised and broken
Can the potter mold his clay?
How but through a grief unspoken
Could come Love to light the way?
By this dust of me Thou grindest,
By these tears of me and rue,
With this potter’s clay Thou findest
Thou shalt build my temple new.
by James W. Foley