Late Have I Loved You

220px-sandro_botticelli_050Late have I loved you,
Beauty so ancient and so new,
late have I loved you!

Lo, you were within,
but I outside, seeking there for you,
and upon the shapely things you have made
I rushed headlong,
I, misshapen.
You were with me but I was not with you.
They held me back far from you,
those things which would have no being
were they not in you.

You called, shouted, broke through my deafness;
you flared, blazed, banished my blindness;
you lavished your fragrance,
I gasped, and now I pant for you;
I tasted you, and I hunger and thirst;
you touched me, and I burned for your peace.

Source: St. Augustine of Hippo, 354-430, Confessions, X, 27

Source of this version:

Also found here: The Oxford Book of Prayer, ed. Appleton, © 1985, 1992

“Now I pant for you” may be a reference to Psalm 42:1

“I tasted you” may be a reference to Psalm 34:8

Graphic by Sandro Botticeli from

Another version, freely modified from Prayers of the Early Church, edited by J. Manning Potts, 1953

For Illumination

Late have I loved you,
Eternal Truth and Goodness.
Late have I sought you, my Father!
But you did seek me,
and when you shined forth on me,
then I knew you and learned to love you.
I thank you, my Light,
that you have shined on me,
and taught my soul what you wanted me to be,
and turned your face in pity to me.
You, Lord, have become my Hope,
my Comfort, my Strength, my All!
In you my soul rejoices.
The darkness vanished from before my eyes,
and I saw you,
the Son of Righteousness.
When I loved darkness, I did not know you,
but wandered on from night to night.
But you led me out of that blindness.
You took me by the hand and called me to you,
and now I can thank you,
and your mighty voice which has penetrated to my inmost heart. Amen.



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Lutheran pastor and musician serving St. Stephen's in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.

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