Thou knowest that I love Thee. John 21:15
Words: Probably by a 17th Century German Jesuit. Appeared in Psalteriolum Cantionum Catholicarum (Cologne, Germany: 1772) (O Deus ego amo Te, Nam prior Tu amasti me), titled The Desire of St. Ignatius. Translated from Latin to English by Edward H. Bickersteth, Jr., 1889.
O God, I love Thee; not that my poor love
May win me entrance to Thy Heaven above,
Nor yet that strangers to Thy love must know
The bitterness of everlasting woe.
But, Jesus, Thou art mine, and I am Thine;
Clasped to Thy bosom by Thy arms divine,
Who on the cruel cross for me hast borne
The nails, the spear, and man’s unpitying scorn.
No thought can fathom and no tongue express
Thy griefs, Thy toils, Thy anguish measureless,
Thy death, O Lamb of God the undefiled;
And all for me, Thy wayward sinful child.
How can I choose but love Thee, God’s dear Son,
O Jesus, loveliest, and most loving One!
Were there no Heaven to gain, no Hell to flee,
For what Thou art alone I must love Thee.
Not for the hope of glory or reward,
But even as Thyself hast loved me, Lord,
I love Thee, and will love Thee and adore,
Who art my king, my God, for evermore.