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Book of the Month: Schola Caritatis: Learning the Rhythms of God's Amazing Love

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Saturday, December 17, 2022

now that's a prayer

 I think I need to pray this prayer every day.

A Liturgy Begging the Grace To Accomplish What Is Beyond Me

O Spirit of the Living God, who raises
your people from death to life,

the comforting of your children
in their hard journeys through the valley
of the shadow is, from beginning to end,
your work, not mine.

I am neither wise enough, nor compassionate
enough, nor tempered enough by present griefs,
to form prayers adequate to serve these your
people in the face of an enemy so formidable
as death.

I am wholly unfit to enter the holy sufferings of
others, to give guidance or true comfort,
to speak words of consolation that would name
the wounds of dying and grieving hearts,
or wrap them in compassionate
embrace, or remind them
that there remains a firm, eternal hope
which will outgrow and outlast death itself.

If this is not your work, then I would not have it
be mine.  For I would not bid the grieving hang
their sorrows or their hopes on any words that
cannot bear their weight.

So then, take this meager measure of anything
I might give, O God, and bless it
for the benefit of your people.
Breathe spirit and life into these flawed forms.
Let my insufficiencies be met
by the power of your grace.

I know I will encounter discouragement 
     in this labor
I know I will often experience the creative
     process as an impossible struggle against
     self and darkness.

Even  so, be at work in and through me, O Lord.

I will sometimes falter, lose heart, abandon
course, and be tempted to turn to diversions
and old comforts that cannot sustain.

Even so, be at work in and through me, O Lord.

On my best days I might be too confident in my
own abilities to recognize the depth of my need,
but more often I will be too empty, too spent,
too crippled by my brokenness to believe I have 
anything to give.

Even so, O Lord, be at work in and through me.

In the end, this is my sole means of stewardship:
     to repeatedly ply the imperfect talents with
     which you have entrusted me, daily offering
     to you my poverty, begging you to fill the
     hollow forms of my offerings.

O Holy Spirit, meet, fill, and quicken now,
these insufficient gifts.  Inspire prayers that
would shepherd and comfort your people—
even in their dyings, even in their griefs—
voicing their mortal laments and their eternal
hopes, gently turning their gaze to the promise
of coming resurrection, to the hope of
a world remade, and to the splendor of the
King who soon returns to redeem all sorrows.


(Every Moment Holy, Volume II by Douglas McKelvey)

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