“My Easter Prayer” by Darius M. Ratcliff, 1943

EASTERBLESSING

Easter Blessings Be Thine”, ca. 1912

MY EASTER PRAYER – 1943

Jesus help me know thy love,

Love that brought thee  to our earth.

Leaving realms of brightest glory,

For a lowly manger birth.

Love that chose the hasty Peter,

Cleansed the striken Magdalen.

Patiently endured the traitor,

Made the vilest sinner clean.

Love that led thee to the cross,

Round thee there with fetters strong.

Though a word from thee had scattered,

Those who thought they did thee wrong.

Love that suffered for my sins,

Took their sorrow in my stead.

That I might rejoice in heaven,

Ransomed ever from the dead.

Love that’s mine in this today,

Guiding me while earth I roam.

Shaping me into thy image,

Bringing me to thy own home.

Jesus help me feel thy love,

At this joyous Easter season.

When I view again thy passion,

And thy sacrifice envision.

When I try to comprehend,

Its significance to thee.

Wonder what thou didst endure,

That I might from death be free.

When I seek to understand,

Its significance to us.

How for all who will believe,

This is made our righteousness.

When I would appreciate,

Thy unfathomed love divine.

That I might express my thanks,

That this love is truly mine.

Jesus may I have thy love,

Poured into this sluggish heart.

Filling me with love for others,

Making me of love a part.

That I may this love imbibe,

May I yield my will to thee.

Holding not a purpose back,

Living only thine to be.

That I may with love be filled,

May I linger long in prayer.

That thou mayest possess me wholly,

And have me thy image wear.

Jesus, may I show thy love,

First to thee my loving Lord.

Thou has always so loved me,

I deserved to be abhorred.

Then to those within thy church,

Those whom thou has rendered clean.

These are they beloved of thee,

In their lives thou now art seen.

Next to my own kind and kin,

These my first and dearest charge.

May they have of love my best,

May my heart to them enlarge.

And to others far and wide,

Neighbors, fellow workers, friends.

Enemies who injured me,

Those far off where my light ends.

 

Image above retrieved from:

digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/dgkeysearchdetail.cfm?trg=1&strucID=1065612&imageID=1587604&word= easter blessing&s=1¬word=&d=&c=&f=&k=1&lWord=&lField=&sScope=&sLevel=&sLabel=&sort=&total=12&num=0&imgs=20&pNum=&pos=9

Image Details

Image Title:  Easter blessings be thine. Published Date: ca. 1912.Source: Holiday postcards / Easter — Religious. Source Description: 96 postcards : col. ; 9 x 14 cm. Location: Mid-Manhattan Library / Picture Collection. Catalog Call Number: PC POC Easter – ReligiousDigital. ID: 1587604. Record ID: 1065612.  Digital Item Published: 9-10-2007; updated 5-15-2012

“The Garden of the Lord” by Darius M. Ratcliff


THE GARDEN OF THE LORD

It is the garden of the Lord,

And God Himself walks there:

The flowers bloom the year around,

And perfume all the air.

The trees are bright with gleaming birds,

The air with music rings:

Small creatures of the garden world

Pass by on brilliant wings.

And animals of ponderous size,

With sinews built for strength:

And animals of slender grace

Roam all its breadth and length.

But all obey the spell of love,

They know not to destroy:

They grace the garden everywhere,

And heighten all its joy.

And there  is one of nobler mien,

Who lives as master there;

For him the garden planted was,

He is of God an heir.

He daily walks among the trees,

And cultivated the flowers:

He loves each bird and animal;

He loves the groves and bowers.

He walks with God and talks with God;

God is his closest friend;

He ever seeks God’s will to do,

They meet at each day’s end.

Yet man is lonely day by day;

There is a need at heart,

That neither bird nor beast can meet;

He lives alone, apart.

His God then gives another self,

His life with him to share;

And she is of him for him made,

His image she does bear.

And she now with flowing hair,

With laughing, smiling face:

And she now comes with loving ways,

With form of charming grace.

Her voice now ripples into songs,

And now in whispers sweet:

And clothed in beauty meek she stands,

A mate for Adam meet.

And he now takes her by the hand,

And she becomes his bride:

And they now face the world as one,

To journey side by side.

And he now takes her by the hand

And they  together roam:

The garden no more lonely is,

For Eve has made it home.

The flowers gleam with the lovelier hues

Than ever seen before:

The birds now sing far sweeter songs,

And far more gaily soar.

For man has found the dearest thing,

That graces earth below:

And man enjoys companionship

As he goes to and fro.

Image above retrieved from:

http://public-domain-images.blogspot.com/2010/06/creation-of-adam-by-michelangelo.html

Photo: The Creation of Adam (1508-1512), fresco painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo (1475-1564), it illustrates the Biblical story from the Book of Genesis in which God breathes life into Adam, the first man.

“Mother’s Day” by Darius M. Ratcliff, 1943


MOTHERS DAY

 

I.

Mother with the golden hair,

Mother still young and fair;

Gazing at your baby dear,

Heaven seems to you most near.

God who made the glowing flowers,

God who made the woodland bowers,

God who is so wise and good,

Gave the gift called motherhood.

Lovely are the birds of flight,

Glorious are the stars of night:

Far more beautiful than they,

Is this gift for mortals’ day.

Mother, count your blessings, try;

Blessings money could not buy:

Children romping with their toys,

Mothers’ love, and mothers’ joys.

Motherhood has brought to you

Blessings for your whole life through;

Motherhood has made you mother, –

You’d not change for any other.

II.

Mother, slow sweet years will pass,

Baby will become a lass;

You must meet the mother’s test;

Motherhood should have your best.

You can take the selfish road,

Shun the mother’s heavy load:

Motherhood can have your worst;

You can take the way accursed.

You will need the Savior’s grace,

You should turn to Christ your face:

For you must always true,

God and man depend on you.

You may feel a cruel cross,

You may suffer bitter loss:

You must rally from each blow,

You must still toward victory go.

You must keep the goal in sight;

Turn not from it left or right:

You for Christ and heaven build;

Till your last heart beat is stilled.


III.

You must go the long, long way,

Golden hair will turn to gray:

Wrinkles will possess the face

Now so fair with youthful grace.

You may then be left to weep

For the child you couldn’t keep:

Death sometimes the fairest takes,

Of our love as cross then makes.

You a bitter cup may drink,

Sadder than you now dare think:

Feet in sin may choose to stray,

Leaving you for years to pray.

You may reap glad earthly joys,

See your loved one in good employs:

Never know the anxious part

Never know a broken heart.

God has made a perfect plan,

Far transcending our mind’s span:

Serve with Christ your journey through

Glorious things are waiting you.

You may fail to understand

Till you reach the heavenly strand:

But as sure as God is good,

Joys await true motherhood.

Image above:

Mary and baby Jesus Christ, ‘La vierge aux raisins’ by Pierre Mignard (1640). Pierre Mignard (November 7, 1612 to May 30, 1695), also called ‘Le Romain’ to distinguish him from his brother Nicolas and his nephew Pierre II, was a French painter, born at Troyes.

Retrieved from:

http://public-domain-images.blogspot.com/2010/03/painting-mary-and-child-jesus-by-pierre.html

“Love” by Darius M. Ratcliff, May 5, 1944

LOVE 


If you’d have a life of joy,

Have a peace nought can destroy;

Try love.

Love can make the heart to sing,

Love can joy and gladness bring;

Try love.

If the lost to Christ you’d bring,

Those outside you’d see within;

Try love.

Love will draw men to the church,

Love will aid the workers search;

Try love.

If you’d help this evil time,

Help to rid our land of crime;

Try love.

Love can reach the lowest den,

Love can melt the roughest men;

Try love.

If you’d help these wars to cease,

Help to bring the nations peace;

Try love.

Love will touch the Northern Lap,

Love will win the wily Jap;

Try love.

If you’d have a heart of love,

Like your Father’s up above;

Try love.

Christ can make you love the worst,

Those by men and nature curst;

Try love.

Come beloved, let us love, for to love is of God.

Let us love as Christ loved, when on earth once he trod.

We shall never catch sight of the kingdom above,

Unless we like our God, unless we too are love.

Come beloved, let us love, for to love is of God.

Let us love one another as we journey along;

Let our hearts be united in fellowship strong.

If we lay up treasures, just silver and gold,

We shall have not a mite that at last we can hold.

Let us love one another as we journey along.

Let us love the unlovely, the despised, and our foes,

Even though we now walk where hatred rank grows.

If we love only those who are loving to us too,

We are doing only what all the worldly can do.

Let us love the unlovely, the despised, and the foes.

Photo above retrieved from:

http://www.theworkofgodschildren.org/collaboration/index.php?title=File:Love_001.jpg#file

“To My Valentine” – Ethel Fulton Ratcliff by Darius M. Ratcliff, February 14, 1943

Ethel Lepine Fulton Ratcliff


TO MY VALENTINE

February 14, 1943


Long, long ago, my dear,

I fell in love with you.

How sweet and happy were those days,

When love to us was new:

Do you remember Somerville,

And Greenknoll’s country side?

Do you remember Hurleyville,

Where summer joys abide:

If I were to fall in love anew,

I’d want to fall in love with you.

Our wedding day was minus guests,

And it was bleak and cold:

It mattered not to me at all,

For you were mine to hold:

I heard you say a glad “I do.”

And we at last were wed:

The joy has never left my heart,

Though many years have fled.

If I were to marry anew,

I’d want to marry only you.

You, dear, were once my own sweet bride,

They said, “The teacher’s wife”.

We had but little in our home,

But sweet to me was life.

We learned to love those country folks,

And they to us were kind:

I doubt if those in palaces

A greater bliss can find.

If I were to have a bride anew,

I’d want that bride to be just you.

For thirty years you’ve been my wife,

A loyal wife and true:

If I have won success or praise,

I owe it much to you.

And you are just as lovely now,

As when you were my bride.

I’ve learned to love you more and more,

With love that does abide.

If I were to choose a wife anew,

I’d want to choose just you, just you.

And we have reared a lovely girl, —

Many blessings with her go:And we have reared two precious boys,–

Ratcliff Family – July 16, 1926

Left to right 

Robert “Bob” , Walter

Ethel Fulton Ratcliff, Elizabeth “Betty”, Darius Mitteer Ratcliff

May they the Savior know.

For them we’ve toiled and sacrificed,

For them we’ve lived and prayed;

With them we’ve loved, joyed, and wept

With them we’ve hiked and played.

If I were to rear a child a new,

I’d want to rear that child with you.

The years will come, the years will go:

They’ll take away our strength:

We’ll find ourselves, if life is spared,

Grown old and weak at length.

So long the Christ has blessed us,

He’ll not forsake us then:

His grace for us will suffice

While we abide with men.

If I’m to grow old and feeble too,

I want to grow old  along with you.

Our hopes are placed with Christ on high,

We wait a coming Lord:

We glory only in the Christ,

We glory in His word:

We trust to love forever more,

And with Christ’s glory shine:

We trust the fullness of our Lord

Will be both yours and mine.

When I then live that life anew,

I want to live that life with you.

 Ratcliff Family – Naples, New York, 1935

Photos above – Source: Personal photo collection of B.J. Johanningmeier