Rome, Second Sunday of Easter, April 24, 1960

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I love you

I love you
not because I have learned to tell you so;
not because my heart
suggests these words,
not even because faith has made me believe
that you are love;
and not even because you died for me.
I love you
because you have entered into my life
more than the air in my lungs,
more than the blood in my veins.
You have come and entered
where no one could enter;
when no one could help me,
each time no one could console me.
Every day I have spoken with you.
At every moment I have looked at you
and in your countenance
I have found the answer;
in your words the explanation;
in your love the solution.

I love you
because for many years
you have lived with me
and I have lived with you.
I drank from your law,
and did not know it.
I was nourished with it,
became strong in it
I found new courage,
but I was unaware of it
like a child who drinks its mother's milk
and still does not know
how to call her by that sweet name.

Help me to be grateful
- at least a little -
in the time which is left to me,
for this love
that you have given me
and has compelled me
to tell you,
"I love you."



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