by Luis G. Dato

The sacraments present an outward right,
They rescue from horrendous moral night,
Which Christ did institute to grant the grace
That all the world’s grant sins alone efface.

In baptism, God’s vicar uses oil,
And water for the sins that men’s souls sail,
The mystic ceremony sanctifies
That Adam’s sons retrieve their paradise.

In baptism, man finds his heritage
In youth, when free from the assaults of age,
Escutcheon this, his earliest sacrament,
In tender years is ill temptations bent.

Baptized we are in Jesus to believe,
Or rue the sins in all our days to grieve,
Indelibly, Christ forms in man a part
Because he has found Jesus in his heart.

In confirmation, man improves his lot
And grows in grace by God’s own light begot,
From which all fortitude with power springs
Defying all the Caesars and the kings.

With oil anointed from the bishop’s thumb
The child will grow, not weak of will or dumb,
A little closer to the image dear
In which God formed him in Creation’s year.

And when we die, our Maker shall we see
In the vile vestments of iniquity?
Oh no! our conscience we must reconcile
In grace that we have lost and missed meanwhile.

Your mercy use, O God, forgive our sin,
Our road’s beset with harlotry and gin,
And in the Judgment seat our doom was writ,
But if You may Your sons You may acquit.

For dust thou art, to dust return thou shalt,
Applies to all, the whole, the blind the halt,
Repent! repent! condition precedent
Of this in life the ultimate sacrament.

“Tu est sacerdos en aeternum,” you,
To give to God, to Ceasar each his due,
The Christian gospels spreading to go forth
Painstaking, to the nations of the earth.

The empires come where once suns never set,
Today their very names we now forgot,
But this Your holy kingdom girds the world,
Its standards in five continents unfurled.

All this the labor of the humble priest,
Hist gift, his sacrifice to Jesus Christ,
No sword he draws but Faith, Hope, Charity,
The last the greatest of the three.

And last but not the least matrimony,
It spans the world wherever man may be.
The seed of Abraham more numerous than stars
Are nations now, despite the frequent wars.

For back to fundamentals, what is life,
But having children from the lawful wife?
So was it when in Adam life began,
So will it be as long as man is man.

Luis Dato
Luis Dato

Luis G. Dato (July 4, 1906 - January 29, 1985) was a poet, writer and educator from Sta. Cruz, Baao, Camarines Sur. He published books in English including Manila A Collection of verse (1926), My Book of Verses (1936) and the Land of Mai in 1975. He also wrote several books and text in Bikol such as, Vocabulario Bikol-Ingles-Kastila (1963), Cantahon na Bikol (1969), Morfologia kan Tataramon na Bikol (serialized in Naga Times), Patotodon sa Bikol (Bikol Mail) and Sarabihon sa Bikol.

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