Broke Through

Late have I loved you,
O Beauty ever ancient, ever new,
late have I loved you!
You were within me, but I was outside,
and it was there that I searched for you.
In my unloveliness
I plunged into the lovely things which you created.
You were with me, but I was not with you.
Created things kept me from you;
yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all.
You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness.
You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness.
You breathed your fragrance on me;
I drew in breath and now I pant for you.
I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more.
You touched me, and I burned for your peace.

(A prayer of St. Augustine of Hippo, from his Confessions)

Right Spirit

O Lord and Master of my life,
give me not the spirit of laziness,
despair,
lust of power,
and idle talk.

But give rather the spirit of sobriety,
humility,
patience
and love
to Thy servant.

Yea, O Lord and King,
grant me to see my own transgressions
and not to judge my brother,
for blessed art Thou unto ages of ages. Amen.

(A prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian, 305-373)

To Be Your Failure

I choose to be Your failure
before anyone else's success.
Keep me from reneging
on my choice.

Amen.

(excerpted from "A Psalm Requesting Faith," in Psalms of My Life by Joseph Bayly)

On Robin's Birthday

Abba, you have granted me the loveliest bride,
the perfect woman for me, and I am grateful.
Bless her abundantly, extravagantly, today, on her birthday.
As your beauty and grace lives in her
and exudes from her,
let her feel your approval in every way
on this day and in all the days to come.
Smile on her. Rejoice over her. Thrill her and fill her
with the awareness of your pleasure
and the rich appreciation of her husband, family, and many friends,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Saturday Psalm #106

I praise you, Lord.
I give you thanks,
for your unending goodness,
your unceasing love.

Your works are beyond words, Lord.
No language on earth is adequate
to declare all the praise you deserve.

You give joy and satisfaction to those who do justice,
those who walk in righteousness.

Remember me, Abba, when you're in the mood
to show favor to your children;
help me when you're in a helping state of mind.
Prosper me and mine
when you're handing out your good gifts,
and send us joy unspeakable
any time you want.

I know I'm just a lowly sinner,
like my ancestors before me,
my spiritual and physical antecedents.
Like Israel in Egypt,
we have been blind to your wonderful works;
we easily forget the abundance of your steadfast love,
as they did at the Red Sea.
But you still saved them, didn't you?
You showed your power for the sake of your name.
You rebuked the Red Sea, and it rolled back, became dry;
you led them through the deep as through a desert.
You saved them from their foe,
and delivered them from their enemy,
and they responded with praise.
Do as much for me,
that I might do as much for you.
Let me not forget your works,
or fail to wait for your counsel.
Let me not put you to the test,
and invite disaster with selfish prayers.

Save me from jealousy,
like those who complained against Moses and Aaron.
Save me from factionism,
like that of Abiram.
Save me from idolatry,
like those who made a calf at Horeb
and worshipped a cast image.
They exchanged your glory
for the image of an ox that eats grass.
But I more readily forget you, my Savior,
when I put my faith in the approval of man,
the techniques of others,
in financial security,
and other such things.

Save me, Lord,
from despising your good land,
your faithfulness to fulfill your promise.

Save me from foolish idolatry like theirs,
and empty sacrifices.
Save me from going through the motions,
save me from grieving or quenching your Holy Spirit.

Teach me to stand up like Phinehas,
and root out all sin and temptation from my life
as you intended--and commanded--Israel to do.

Save me from the snares that surround me,
and from compromising with evil.

You are my deliverer,
as you were theirs.
You have never forgotten your promises to me,
and never wavered in your love.

Save me, O LORD my God;
bring me into my inheritance,
that I may give thanks to your holy name
and glory in your praise.

I praise you, LORD, God of Israel,
God of me,
from everlasting to everlasting.

Amen.
Praise the Lord.

Submerge

God, submerge me
in the darkness of your love,
that the consciousness
of my false, everyday self
falls away from [me]
like a soiled garment. . . .

May my 'deep self' fall into your presence . . . .
knowing you alone . . .
carried away into eternity
like a dead leaf in the November wind.

(Thomas Merton, The Ascent to Truth, p. 238)