Poetry Selections

Irenaus (c. 125–c. 210)

Capable Flesh

The tender flesh itself
     will be found one day
— quite surprisingly —
     to be capable of receiving,
and yes, full
     capable of embracing
the searing energies of God.
     Go figure. Fear not.
For even at its beginning
     the humble clay received
God's art, whereby
     one part became the eye,
another the ear, and yet
     another this impetuous hand.
Therefore, the flesh
     is not to be excluded
from the wisdom and the power
     that now and ever animates
all things. His life-giving
     agency is made perfect,
we are told, in weakness —
     made perfect in the flesh.

Adapted and translated by Scott Cairns, Love's Immensity; Mystics on the Endless Life (Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2007, pp. 5–6.)