Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Bach's Passions

I really am so thankful to Pope Francis for giving us a glimpse into who he is and what he loves in his recent interview, A Big Heart Open to God.  Ever since I read it, I have been enjoying listening to the Pope's favorite music, especially the Passion of Matthew, but also the Passion of John, which Pope Francis did not mention as a favorite, both by Bach.  Since the music is sung in German, I was looking for a translation, and found such breathtaking poetry interspersed with the biblical passion narratives, that I just have to share some of what I've discovered.  I am certain that the following two soul-lifting passages will become my favorite prayers for years to come.  Don't you love them as well?

"Erbarme Dich"  Matthew's Passion by Bach:

Have mercy, my God, for my tears' sake; 
look hither, heart and eyes weep before Thee bitterly.
Although I have strayed from Thee, 
yet I have returned again; 
for Thy Son has reconciled us through His agony and mortal pain.  
I do not deny my guilt,
but Thy grace and favor is far greater 
than the sin which I ever confess in myself.

from John's Passion by Bach:

Consider, my soul, with a tortured joy, 
and with a bitter burden half stifling my heart, 
your highest good in the sufferings of Jesus.  
Consider how, for you, on the thorns that prick Him, 
blooms the flowers that open the gates of heaven; 
from His bitter wormwood you can pluck sweet fruit in abundance.  
Therefore, never cease to contemplate Him.


  1. These prayers are stunningly beautiful!!! Thank you, Anne, for sharing them and the link to our Pope's recent interview. I love our Pope Francis!!! God Bless....

  2. Cynthia, your poetry is right along the same lines as these prayers. You write so beautifully and glorify God with your poems. I really like all of the old language with "hither" and "thee" in the Bach Passions. It just moves my soul, and of course, the prayers in general make me want to love Jesus more and more.