When You Visit Us

While I was on retreat at the Genesee in November 1998, I started
translating a second booklet of prayers by Fr. Jean Galot,
SJ, called “When you visit us” (“Lourque tu nous visites”,
Sintal, Louvain, 1987).

—–

(1)

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*Father, you have visited us*

Father, may you be blessed for the great visit
you have offered to us
when you sent forth your Son into our world
to save us.

You sent him to us because you loved him
and because you loved us,
because you wanted to give your children
the utmost love.

In his visit to the world, it is you who have come
and who have reunited us;
in his generous heart, it is your fatherly heart
which opened itself to us.

In his human face, it is your divine power
that has appeared to us,
and in his compassion, your immense mercy
has drawn near to us.

It is your own pardon that he indicated to us
in remitting our faults,
and in it your own life that he made spring up in us
by his resurrection.

–by Jean Galot, SJ

(2)

*Your visit surprised us*

Father, we could have dreaded your visit,
feared it would be a visitation of anger,
of settling accounts and of just punishment
for so much evil committed, so many rebellions,
and so many transgressions.

But your visit was full of benevolence,
a true overflowing of generous goodness;
you revealed to us, in the numerous miracles
worked by Jesus, the immensity of love
that wished to fill us.

You visited us not to confound us
nor to condemn us but in order to free us.
You willed to come in aid to our distress,
to break our heart free from bondage,
to offer us salvation.

Your visit has been for us a light,
a good surprise and a discovery,
an astonishment before your great plan
of new creation and of resurrection
of our humanity.

Your visit has changed our vision of things;
it has allowed us to overcome our fears,
has revived in us a new hope,
has encouraged us to put trust in you
for all our future.

–by Jean Galot, SJ

(3)

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*By your inspirations*

By your inspirations and illuminations,
you come a visitor,
Spirit of truth, to rouse my thought
in the direction of faith.

You enter into my spirit, there to make
a new light shine,
to make it discover the impenetrable depth
of reality.

You enter into my vision to enlarge it without end
by your divine vision,
to share with me your way of seeing
the destiny of the world.

You come to form in me admirable ideas,
corresponding to the marvels
you want to work in all our universe
and in my own life.

You come to expand me: you make me reach
to other horizons,
and make me experience the deep enthusiasm
of revelation.

–by Jean Galot, SJ

(4)

*You introduce Christ*

Spirit, you introduce Christ in his visit
to our humanity,
you who wrought in the womb of Mary
the incarnation of the Son.

It is you who by love made a way for him
in all his mission
guiding his visit that it might produce
abundance of fruits.

It is you who, inspiring the gospel text,
have set before our eyes,
to make it live again in every time of history,
that unique visit.

It is you who introduce Christ into our thoughts
and make us discover
his authentic face, where appears the light
that enlightens the world.

It is you who introduce Christ into our heart,
make us to receive him
and make us to love him, transforming his visit
into a permanent stay.

–by Jean Galot, SJ

(5)

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*You visited us*

You visited us
when you came by your Incarnation
to meet our world,
to share our life, dwelling with us.

You visited us
because you did not want to love us only
from up there and from afar
but to draw near to us, in order to open to us your heart.

You visited us
to be able to speak to us as teacher and as friend,
to comfort, to heal
all our sicknesses and our infirmities.

You visited us
for a long visit, unique, unforgettable,
one that aims to go on
and renew itself in our present life.

You visited us,
you looked at us, and you understood us,
you listened to us,
you lifted us up and you saved us.

–by Jean Galot, SJ

(6)

*Heaven has visited the earth*

Heaven descended, visited the earth
when you came,
Christ, among us, to give a heavenly taste
to our earthly life.

Heaven, in its visiting, opened for the earth
a horizon immense:
while you turned all our existence
toward the divine infinity.

Heaven, by its brightness, scattered our shadows
when by your look,
your word and your life, you brought to us
the light from on high.

Heaven, drawing close, has rekindled the earth:
you have, from so near,
made us feel a love that, burning in your heart,
has set ours afire.

Heaven, by its happiness, has rejoiced the earth
when by your message
you introduced us into the beatitudes
that fill our hope.

–by Jean Galot, SJ

(7)

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“Today I must come …” (Lk 19:5)

May I not dream
that these words of another time, addressed to Zacchaeus,
would come again upon your lips:
“Today I must come and stay with you”?

Have you not made it understood
that you come freely to those who desire you?
I would gladly strengthen
my desire to see you and to receive you.

It is not necessary,
in order to catch your eye, to climb a tree,
but to be well aware
of measuring up short in all my person.

In your saving love,
you do not disregard those who own themselves sinners
and you pay them a visit
in order to convert and purify their heart.

So come to my house, Jesus;
I receive you with joy, and with hope
that you will transform
all my existence into generosity.

–by Jean Galot, SJ

(8)

“I am not worthy” (Mt. 8:8)

I do not deserve that you should come to my house,
and I am so unworthy of it!
I am a mere trifle to eyes of your grandeur
and I am a sinner.

But far from praying you to pass far from me,
I invite you all the same,
for I need you; I thirst for your visit,
I aspire after your presence.

It is true that you can, by your simple word,
without coming all the way to me,
cure me of my ills and convert my heart,
transform my conduct.

Yet a miracle accomplished at a distance
would not suffice for me;
it is you that I desire, and your intimacy
that I want to possess.

And I know that you yourself, even more than I,
desire and you want
to enter into my dwelling, to make a visit
that becomes a stay.

–by Jean Galot, SJ

(9)

“I shall go to wake him” (Jn. 11:11)

Your visit to the tomb of your friend Lazarus
restored life to him.
A word from you sufficed: “Lazarus, come outside!”
to raise him.

Your visit must have seemed too late and vain:
it made manifest
your absolute power over our earthly life
and over our hereafter.

Your visit suddenly reunited in the feast
of a rediscovered love
those who had been so sorrowfully
separated by death.

Your visit changed lamentations and tears
into an explosion of joy
and in a single instant made all forgotten
an intense grief.

Your visit is for us an upsurge of life
that picks us up,
reunites us in you, changes shadow into light,
sorrow to happiness.

–by Jean Galot, SJ

(10)

“The better portion” (Lk. 10:42)

Martha and Mary, both of them, knew how to welcome you
with much love as a teacher and friend,
the one in devoting herself to you and the other in dwelling
near you in silence.

You appreciated, Jesus, Martha’s earnestness
to render you service and your disciples,
to provide to all a meal, rest, and the joy
of hospitality.

More vividly still you praised Mary
who, seated at your feet, listened to your word;
seized by your presence, she wanted to open to you
her spirit and her heart.

That better portion which she had chosen,
I too would like to assure it in my life:
a portion of intimate adherence and of contemplation,
of warmhearted welcome.

I want to reserve for you times, face-to-face,
in order better to offer you an attentive ear,
a spirit that meditates, a heart that fills itself
from the treasures of your grace.

–by Jean Galot, SJ

(11)

“Whom do you seek?” (Jn. 20:15)

Woman, whom do you seek
with such passion and such perseverance
as if he
had taken all your heart, all your hope?

Woman, whom do you seek
and why do you mourn from a sorrow so deep
him who promised
to return alive on this third day?

Woman, whom do you seek,
taken up in sorrow, not suspecting
that him whom you seek
you have found already, but without recognizing him?

Woman, whom do you seek
believing him far off while he is very near,
thinking he is dead,
him, the risen one, full of a new life?

Woman, whom do you seek
with deadened eyes, blinded by tears
at the moment when joy
prepares to burst, to flood upon your soul?

–by Jean Galot, SJ

(12)

“Peace be with you!” (Lk. 24:36, Jn 20:19,21)

When, risen, you suddenly came
into the midst of the disciples
you wanted to calm their confusion, their fear:
“Peace be with you!”

You wanted to offer them and let them taste
the deepest peace,
ultimate peace, gained at the highest price
by the gift of life,

the peace that belongs to the kingdom of love
with you have instituted,
the peace of filial harmony with the Father,
of brotherly accord.

This peace, today when you come to us,
you share with us;
and make it penetrate very deep into our soul
that it may dwell there.

Your visit, Jesus, always brings peace;
far from inspiring fear,
it confirms us in confident boldness
and serenity.

–by Jean Galot, SJ

(13)

“It is the Lord!” (Jn. 21:7)

Fishermen by trade, they were unable to catch a thing;
their nets for the night had remained empty.
It is then, Christ Jesus, in the newborn dawn
that you appeared to them.

They could not recognize your mysterious face,
being too distressed by their disappointment;
they did not suspect the good surprise
that was offered to them.

Everything changed when suddenly, following your counsel,
they saw their nets overflowing with fish.
In their amazement, a cry of burning faith
arose: “It is the Lord!”

That is how you come in the hour of checkmate,
of disillusionment, of bitter powerlessness;
you come to transform everything, to raise up courage,
to fill all our poverty.

You come to enlighten all, to give our efforts
an immense, marvelous fruitfulness.
You come, but you ask to be recognized
with a look of faith.

–by Jean Galot, SJ

(14)

“You did not recognize the time when you were visited” (Lk. 19:44)

Alas! Jerusalem, you have not recognized
the time of my visit;
you have not welcomed my love, my message
nor my exhortations.

You have let pass the most beautiful of graces
that has been offered to you,
in rejecting him who came to save you,
to ennoble you, to fill you.

When I wanted to bestow on you riches
that last forever,
behold, your house is now deserted,
and your hands are bare and empty.

Even while weeping for you, I nourish the hope
for a day long away,
of finding in the hearts of a people that is dear to me
the welcome I wish for.

I know that from now until then many others will come
joyfully, to meet me,
in faith and love
and will thank me for the time of my visit.

–by Jean Galot, SJ

(15)

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*When you knock at the door*

When you knock at the door
I want to recognize your presence right away,
to open wide to you
the interior dwelling where you desire to enter.

When you knock at the door
of my soul encumbered with thousands of cares,
I want to forget
my preoccupations, to think only of you.

When you knock at the door
to weave an intimate dialogue with me,
I want to leave everything
to belong to nothing but our encounter, face to face.

When you knock at the door
to shake off my numbness
I want to deliver to you
the too drowsy heart that you come to waken.

When you knock at the door
to invite me to your home, I want to escape
from my too narrow walls
and discover, through you, new horizons.

–by Jean Galot, SJ

(16)

*When you come to visit*

When you come to visit
making me feel the mysterious warmth
of your love for me,
you lift up to yourself the impulse of all my being.

When you enter in silence
and let me experience a divine sweetness,
you carry away my life
toward another horizon that announces heaven.

When your invisible face
reveals itself suddenly in its nearness,
I see more clearly
how I was right to give you my faith.

When your presence to my heart
becomes afire, its flame kindles in me
a generous ardor
which pushes me to give everything that I possess.

When you make me taste
the inexpressible joy of your intimacy,
you make me understand better
that I must attach myself totally to you.

–by Jean Galot, SJ

(17)

*In sadness*

When sadness arises,
it is you, Lord Jesus, who come to visit me,
because you desire to unite to the redeeming cross
my life and my suffering.

When I feel alone
and insecure in the face of trial,
you come to reassure me by the fidelity
of a mysterious presence.

In the hardest moments,
you come to reaffirm me by an increase of grace,
reignite my courage,
sustain my patience and my perseverance.

In the crucifying hour,
you make me recognize a blessing,
a call to love,
to the most generous gift of all my person.

At the depth of a wounded heart
your visit introduces a new gentleness,
a ray of light,
a mysterious joy aroused by hope.

–by Jean Galot, SJ

(18)

*In desolation*

When everything seems to be a desert in my heart
and I have the impression of an infinite absence,
I must believe more strongly in your nearness
in order to grasp your visit.

Because you are never far and in dryness
your love continues to flower, to smile;
this veiled smile, I must discover,
getting the mystery.

When everything becomes heavy under the desolation
in a soul invaded by black moods,
you come, with discreet steps and delicately,
offering me your consolation.

You do not leave me a prey to sadness
not wholly, not indefinitely,
your sudden visit awakens my torpor
and brightens my route.

So make me discover in my interior nights
the brightness of a look filled with sympathy,
the warmth of a hand that rests upon me
to comfort me.

–by Jean Galot, SJ

(19)

*In joy*

When great joys burst into my life,
It is your happiness, O Christ, which suddenly invades me
and makes me experience a foretaste of heaven;
it is you who visit me.

Even more often, through more modest joys,
By various means, in daily life,
you visit my heart, sharing with it
your immense joy.

It is not an authentic and profound joy
where you are not present, where you do not show
your secret intention of expanding my life
and filling me with graces.

Let me never close myself in,
in my satisfactions, in thinking only of me,
forgetting him who gave them to me
with so much love.

In recognizing you in every passing joy,
and in thanking you for all the visits
that consoled me, may I seek and find in you
a joy that lasts.

–by Jean Galot, SJ

(20)

*To recognize your steps*

I wish, Christ Jesus, to recognize your footsteps
when you come in the morning to bring me out of my dreams
to plunge me suddenly into the reality
of a new day:

To recognize your steps when you come to uphold
and enliven my hands, to put them to work,
guaranteeing me that I am not alone
to fulfill my mission;

To recognize your sudden steps in the silence
that forms within me, when there awakens in me
the taste of another world, where I can feel
the joy of your presence;

To recognize your steps when in sorrow
that veils my vision weighs down my thoughts,
you come to console me, to offer me secretly
your divine consolation;

To recognize your steps when in happiness
where I would be led to forget your gifts,
you come to remind me of the duty of saying
a sincere thank you.

–by Jean Galot, SJ

(21)

*Desire for your visit*

Your visit, Jesus, can only be fruitful
if I desire it;
It must respond to a profound
aspiration of my being.

You do not want to force the door of my heart;
you only penetrate into me
when I invite you or when I receive you
freely, voluntarily.

Since you find in me a sinere desire
for your intimacy,
you approach me and offer me your presence
with haste.

Too often my desire is not intense enough:
I let myself be drawn away
by countless cares, which make me forget
friendship, the essential.

Down to the depth of me there is this desire;
I want it to confirm itself
and issue the call in which is expressed my thirst
to live of your life.

–by Jean Galot, SJ

(22)

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*In the visit of my brothers*

Every visit is your visit,
Christ Jesus present in my brothers,
so happy to approach us,
to reunite us in your love.

In each of my visitors
it is you who come to visit me.
every time I hear a knock
it is to you that I open the door.

In the face that appears
and which brightens with a smile
bearing witness to your kindness,
your loving face shows itself.

Even in someone who comes to beg
it is you who invite me to offer
the disagreeable visit
in the most generous love.

In the words addressed to me
make me grasp more than their meaning;
make me perceive the message
that you desire for me through them.

Open my eyes that they may see you
in the least of your brothers
whom you send me as ambassadors
to communicate to me your joy.

–by Jean Galot, SJ

(23)

*Visit to my brothers*

When I go to see a brother prone to affliction,
a patient, an invalid, a prisoner, a poor man,
or anyone else in trials,
it is you, Lord Jesus, who touch my visit.

The help I bring to someone in distress,
the service given to someone needing aid,
it is you who receive them,
and keep them in your heart as a precious treasure.

The encouragements to the downcast,
the simple comfort my presence brings
to all the abandoned,
it is you who receive them in brotherly joy.

When I find the words for a true sympathy
and I give hope to those who despair,
you hear me speaking
and take in my words with gratitude.

The affection I show to those who are little loved
and the sincere esteem for those who are scorned
touch you every time,
and you want to give them to me in your divine look.

–by Jean Galot, SJ

(24)

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*Your visit, Mary*

Your visit, Mary
was for Elizabeth the visit of God,
of God the little child
you bore inside to bring joy to the world.

Filled with the Holy Spirit
your kinswoman exulted, with her own son,
for all the happiness
the coming of the Savior produces in hearts.

And all marvelous is
your visit today: when we invite you
you come with Jesus
to make us experience the joy of his presence.

Your visit makes a ray of sun
shine, which we need:
the divine smile
of Christ that lifts us out of all our sadness.

Your visit illumines
with a brightness of faith the shadow of our days,
and warms the heart
with the intense affection of your motherly heart.

–by Jean Galot, SJ

(25)

*The moment of your visit*

It arrives often when in the course of the day
there suddenly shines before my eyes
a ray of light;
Mary, that is the discreet moment of your visit,

Moment of a special, delicate attention
from your motherly heart,
a more noticeable sign
of your care and your kindness,

Moment of an immediate and fulfilling answer
to an appeal,
of a wish granted
up there, for what I was able to hope,

Moment where the warmth of an encouragement
rouses my ardor
in a thankless task
and where your hope enlivens my effort,

Moment where your smile illumines and awakens
a joy that was sleeping;
stay longer
until the instant of grace invades my heart!

–by Jean Galot, SJ

(26)

*You receive us*

Those who depart for a faraway pilgrimage,
putting much ardor into visiting you,
are sure to find in your domain, Mary,
a warm welcome.

Those who in your honor walk a long way
to your shrine, there to implore
your motherly goodness, obtain from your heart
numerous blessings.

But much more often, and even more simply,
in the course of our days we visit you
when our gaze turns toward you
and we pray to you.

We can meet you easily, at any time,
for you are never far and your mother’s-love
is always ready to open the door to us
when we desire.

You do not tire of the urgency
of our supplications; you await our visits,
receive them voluntarily and answer with joy
to all our petitions.

–by Jean Galot, SJ

(27)

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*Your visit heals*

Your visit cured the sick and the infirm;
no sickness, no infirmity
could resist the sovereign power
of your hand in blessing.

Your visit brought even more the health
and salvation of the soul, in offering to sinners
reconciliation, pardon, and peace
in the divine friendship.

Today, in my turn, I wait for your visit
when you come to cure all the ills that afflict me,
by delivering my heart from everything that impedes it
from offering itself to you.

You can root out from the depth of my soul
the tendencies to evil, the voracious appetites
of price, the passions, all the complacency
of a profound selfishness.

You can cleanse all, purify my desires,
correct my errors by showing me your way,
warm up my coldness and my indifferences,
make me more loving.

–by Jean Galot, SJ

(28)

*You await my visit*

Lord, who have wished by your eucharist,
to be ever present
in the development of my daily life,
you await my visit.

To tie together with me the purest friendship,
the most affectionate,
you come modestly to dwell among us,
ready to receive me.

When I am negligent and forget your presence,
you keep silence,
but you do not cease to call out to me
for a meeting, a rendezvous of love.

You wish to offer me the infinite richness
of your divinity;
you require only that I go to you,
by opening up my heart.

You await my visit with an impatience
which is like your goodness,
eager to fill whoever is not deaf
to your invitations.

–by Jean Galot, SJ

(29)

*So much happiness*

There are visits
which don’t agree with us: hurried, tiring,
but yours, Lord,
is only a source of joy, of peace, of consolation.

So much happiness can be born
from the least visit where you make me feel
your friendly presence,
your sincere interest for everything that touches me!

So much peace invades me
when you come to give me the tranquil assurance
of a benevolent look
which calms worry and promises your sustenance!

So much ardor and courage
suddenly reignite at your burning contact,
when you come to offer me
your divine kindness and your efficacious aid!

So much hope blooms again
when you come as Savior eager to heal
my infirmities of soul,
when your omnipotence enters into my weakness!

–by Jean Galot, SJ

(30)

*The last visit*

I know that you will come, one day or one night,
at the hour that you alone will have chosen for me,
and that you will knock gently at my door
for the last visit.

I know that you will come as sovereign judge,
whose gaze reaches to the depth of the conscience,
but whose human heart, filled with benevolence,
seeks only to save.

I know that you will come as the Master of life
to make me cross the chasm of death,
to make spring up in me in all its splendor
your own divine life.

I know that you will come as a generous friend
to take me with you and to give me tha place
you have prepared for me in your eternity
in the house of the Father.

I know that you will come as Bridegroom full of love
to invite me to enter into your wedding banquet
there to share your joy of giving yourself
without reserve to our hearts.

–by Jean Galot, SJ