If I were at Your birth, I might have been
the ass that sat beside You, by the manger.
I see myself as this because of sin
to which I wish to now become a stranger.
Yet I’ve preferred to be a donkey near You
than be a king or queen who’s far away,
to be so close that I can always hear You,
though baby cries be all at first You say.
O, Christ, I know that I have been an ass,
yet one’s been often painted in the scene
beside You in the dried up manger grass,
and I hope though my soul is still unclean
that will not keep me far from You because
I may be near You as that donkey was.
My heart has been the manger where You lay,
though I can’t feel Your presence at this time
as when my heart was like that bed of hay,
back in the days I miss – my youthful prime.
My heart has been the place where You were born,
though now there is a sense of absence there,
as by afflictions lately I’ve been torn,
and, like the winter trees, I’m feeling bare.
Though You were born two thousand years ago,
I don’t think quite as much of Your birth then
as of the far more recent birth I know,
when You, within my heart, were born again.
Though You have felt as distant as a stranger,
I hope my heart is once again Your manger.
Mario A. Pita