Francis Thompson

(1859-1907)

 

When Thompson couldn't complete medical school he moved to London.  Things went poorly for him in London as he lived for several years as a tramp.  Poverty and opium addiction were his lot.  Then a magazine editor rescued him. 

 

The following is the opening lines of a poem by Thompson.  I urge you to read the entire poem when you have the opportunity.

 

 

 

The Hound of Heaven

 

I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;

   I fled Him, down the arches of the years;

I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways

   Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears

I hid from Him, and under running laughter.

                         Up vistaed hopes I sped;

                          And shot, precipitated,

Adown Titanic glooms of chasmed fears,

   From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.

                          But with unhurrying chase,

                          And unperturbed pace,

                       Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,

                          They beat---and a Voice beat

                          More instant than the Feet---

                       "All things betray thee, who betrayest Me."

 

                       I pleaded, outlaw-wise,

By many a hearted casement, curtained red,

   Trellised with intertwining charities

(For, though I knew His love Who followed,

                        Yet was I sore adread

Lest, having Him, I must have naught beside).

 

 

 

 

(Thompson captures in this poem two of the most important and eternal spiritual concepts.  "All things betray thee, who betrayest Me."  This is the voice of God.  The person is trying to avoid God.  But God warns him that when you betray God, you are really at the same time betraying yourself.  This message is vitally important for your spiritual development.  So why don't we accept this principle?  Why so much resistance to God when in fact it would benefit us to accept Him?  Thompson answers that with the last line of his poem that I quote: "…having Him, I must have naught beside."  Thompson must give up his opium if he is going to stop betraying both God and himself.  Hopefully you are not drug addicted; however, each of us must give up some of our bad habits if we are going to live a more spiritual life. 

 

What habits do you have that you are not willing to give up?  How are these habits betraying both God and yourself?)