Now, a new creatureby Jacopone da Todi (Jacopone Benedetti)
Original Language Italian
Now, a new creature, I in Christ am born,
The old man stripped away; -- I am new-made;
And mounting in me, like the sun at morn,
Love breaks my heart, even as a broken blade:
Christ, First and Only Fair, from me hath shorn
My will, my wits, and all that in me stayed,
I in His arms am laid,
I cry and call --
'O Thou my All,
O let me die of Love!'
|-- from All Saints: Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time, by Robert Ellsberg|
/ Photo by Hulagway /
Something about this verse reminds me of the Aaronic Blessing from the Book of Numbers:
May the Lord bless you and keep you:
May the Lord make His face shine upon you,
and be gracious unto you:
May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you
and give you peace.
"...mounting in me, like the sun at morn..." -- "May the Lord make His face shine upon you, and... lift up his countenance upon you..."
Since the West has discovered the rich traditions of mysticism and devotion of the East, there is sometimes a tendency to overlook the genuine experiences of the Divine in the West. This poem of Jacopone di Todi is a good reminder of this.
With the opening of the sacred experience, thoughts stop, but not merely thoughts, all concepts, even the sense of "I" -- the ego -- falls away. There is a new found sense of inner freedom; all internal, self-imposed psychic boundaries are gone. It is as if an old skin has been shed, and you are flooded with a new awareness of your life.
This is what it means to be a "new creature." The "old man stripped away," you are now "new-made."
There is an awareness of an internal energy that rises up within you (yogis would call this the Kundalini Shakti), and you are flooded with a light. This is the "mounting" of the "sun at morn."
The heart is warm, wide open, embracing all with love. "Love breaks my heart." It was the old concept of the heart, a limited, sometimes hard or closed thing, that was broken... and it was broken OPEN.
All mental chatter, all artificial concepts, all desire for anything other than this divine completeness vanishes. "...from me hath shorn/My will, my wits..."
To "die of Love," this is the mystic's true quest. The goal is not to die in the physical sense, but to let the ego, the "I, me, mine" disruptions of the mind, disappear completely in the all-consuming fire of Divine Love.