TS Eliot The dove descending breaks the air

Sarah | 07.06.2015 | 20:09:38 | Views: 849
A fragment of a poem by TS Eliot about the Holy Spirit (From Four Quartets).

The dove descending breaks the air
With flame of incandescent terror
Of which the tongues declare
The one discharge from sin and error.
The only hope, or else despair
Lies in the choice of pyre or pyre-
To be redeemed from fire by fire.

Who then devised the torment? Love.
Love is the unfamiliar Name
Behind the hands that wove
The intolerable shirt of flame
Which human power cannot remove.
We only live, only suspire
Consumed by either fire or fire.

For me, it speaks about the fact that the descent of the Holy Spirit is not only a celebratory event, but a painful thing- the indwelling of the spirit brings fire and suffering! It's always sobering for me to acknowledge the sheer holy terror of God in balance with my more warm and comfortable ideas and images.

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