Tag Archives: prayer

From Rilke’s “A Book of a Monastic Life”

Dein allererstes Wort war: Licht:
da ward die Zeit. Dann schwiegst du lange.
Dein zweites Wort ward Mensch und bange
(wir dunkeln noch in seinem Klange)
und wieder sinnt dein Angesicht.

Ich aber will dein drittes nicht.

Ich bete nachts oft: Sei der Stumme,
der wachsend in Gebärden bleibt
und den der Geist im Traume treibt,
dass er des Schweigens schwere Summe
in Stirnen und Gebirge schreibt.

Sei du die Zuflucht vor dem Zorne,
der das Unsagbare verstieß.
Es wurde Nacht im Paradies:
sei du der Hüter mit dem Horne,
und man erzählt nur, dass er blies.

–Rainer Maria Rilke, from “The Book of a Monastic Life”


The first word that you ever spoke was: light.
Thus time began. For long you said no more.
Man was your second, and a frightening, word
(the sound of it still shrouds us in its night),
and then again you brooded as before.

But I am one who would not hear your third.

I often pray at night: Be but the dumb,
confined to gestures, growing quietly,
he whom the spirit moves in dreams, that he
may write on speechless brows the heavy sum
of silence, and on peaks for us to see.

Be you the shelter from the angry scorn
that violated the ineffable.
In very paradise night fell:
be you the herdsman with the horn,
that once was blown, but so they only tell.

Altar of Repose

The Altar of Repose on the night of Maundy Thursday at Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, Seattle

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God be in my head

God be in my head, and in my understanding;
God be in mine eyes, and in my looking;
God be in my mouth, and in my speaking;
God be in my heart, and in my thinking;
God be at mine end, and at my departing.

–Words: Sarum Primer, 1514

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May the God of Surprises delight you

May the God of Surprises delight you, inviting you to accept gifts not yet imagined.
May the God of Transformation call you, opening you to continual renewal.
May the God of Justice confront you, daring you to see the world through God’s eyes.
May the God of Abundance affirm you, nudging you towards deeper trust.
May the God of Embrace hold you, encircling you in the hearth of God’s home.
May the God of Hopefulness bless you, encouraging you with the fruits of faith.
May the God of Welcoming invite you, drawing you nearer to the fullness of God’s expression in you.
May God Who is Present be with you, awakening you to God in all things, all people, and all moments.
May God be with you.

By Elizabeth Eiland Figueroa (http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/19916/may-the-god-of-surprises-delight-you)

– See more at: http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/19916/may-the-god-of-surprises-delight-you#sthash.pOaKS0KN.dpuf

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Pilgrims’ Hymn

Even before we call on Your name
To ask You, O God,
When we seek for the words to glorify You,
You hear our prayer;
Unceasing love, O unceasing love,
Surpassing all we know.

Glory to the father,
and to the Son,
And to the Holy Spirit.

Even with darkness sealing us in,
We breathe Your name,
And through all the days that follow so fast,
We trust in You;
Endless Your grace, O endless Your grace,
Beyond all mortal dream.

Both now and forever,
And unto ages and ages,

–Words by Michael Dennis Browne
–Music by Stephen Paulus (1949-2014)

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As truly as God is our Father

As truly as God is our Father, so just as truly is he our Mother.
In our Father, God Almighty, we have our being;
In our merciful Mother we are remade and restored.
Our fragmented lives are knit together.
And by giving and yielding ourselves, through grace,
To the Holy Spirit we are made whole.
It is I, the strength and goodness of Fatherhood.
It is I, the wisdom of Motherhood.
It is I, the light and grace of holy love.
It is I, the Trinity.
I am the sovereign goodness in all things.
It is I who teach you to love.
It is I who teach you to desire.
It is I who am the reward of all true desiring.
All shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well. Amen.

–Julian of Norwich (b. 1342)

Retablo of the Trinity, by Alcario Otero

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From God Christ’s deity came forth

Ephrem of Edessa

From God Christ’s deity came forth,
his manhood from humanity;
his priesthood from Melchizedek,
his royalty from David’s tree:
praised be his Oneness.

He joined with guests at wedding feast,
yet in the wilderness did fast;
he taught within the temple’s gates;
his people saw him die at last:
praised be his teaching.

The dissolute he did not scorn,
nor turn from those who were in sin;
he for the righteous did rejoice
but bade the fallen to come in:
praised be his mercy.

He did not disregard the sick;
to simple ones his word was given;
and he descended to the earth
and his work done, went up to heaven:
praised by his coming.

Who then, my Lord, compares to you?
The Watcher slept, the Great was small,
the Pure baptized, the Life who died,
the King abased to honor all:
praised be your glory.

–Words: Ephrem of Edessa (4th century); translator: J. Howard Rhys (b. 1917)
–Tune: SALEM HARBOR, Ronald Arnatt (b. 1930)

Audio recording taken at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, Seattle, Washington, on March 22, 2015.

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By mighty powers carefully protected

In memory of my dear friend, Maria Friederika Dunnagan (1921-2014).

By mighty powers carefully protected
we calmly wait and trust: let come what may.
God is with us, to him we are connected
mornings and nights and surely each new day.

The past still comes to torture our poor heart
the weight of evil days will not depart.
O Lord, please show our frightened souls the place
where we may learn of your redeeming grace.

By friendly powers silently surrounded
consoled and cared for in a wondrous way.
So will I live with you, when days are counted
into a New Year walk with you, I pray.

When now deep silence comes and does surround us
so let us hear the concert clear and strong.
From your great world, unseen, yet still around us
with all your children praising you in song.

–Words: translated by Maria Friederika Dunnagan, after Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945)
–Music: INTERCESSOR (by Charles Hubert Hastings Parry, 1848-1918)


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Lenten Reflection – Ash Wednesday

Lent is one of those church seasons that people either love, or they hate. They either ignore it, or they embrace it. It’s a seriously misunderstood season. Some people think that they “have to give up something for Lent.” Others ignore that practice and perhaps “take on something new.” Regardless of whether you do or don’t observe the season of Lent, it is undeniable that the season is meant to bring us closer in our faith in Jesus Christ as we mark his 40 days of fasting in the desert. That is the whole point of Lent…a commemoration of Christ’s 40-day journey in the desert where he fasted and prayed, and where he was tempted by the devil. In our observance of Lent (in whatever way you choose to do it), I hope that you are brought closer in your journey with Christ as you pray and reflect on the unbelievable love God has for us in Jesus Christ. A love so powerful that it survived crucifixion.

Throughout this forty-day Lenten season, think about a way you might focus your soul in quietness or simplicity, in service or in solitude, in loving acts or in silent prayer. May you have a blessed Lent!

Ash Wednesday

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Lift up your heads, ye mighty gates

Lift up your heads, ye mighty gates;
behold the King of glory waits!
The King of kings is drawing near;
the Savior of the world is here.

O blest the land, the city blest,
where Christ the ruler is confessed!
O happy hearts and happy homes
to whom this King of triumph comes!

Fling wide the portals of your heart;
make it a temple, set apart
from earthly use for heaven’s employ,
adorned with prayer and love and joy.

Redeemer, come! I open wide
my heart to thee: here, Lord, abide!
Let me thy inner presence feel:
thy grace and love in me reveal.

So come, my Sovereign; enter in!
Let new and nobler life begin;
thy Holy Spirit guide us on,
until the glorious crown be won.

Words: Georg Weissel (1590-1635) tr. Catherine Winkworth (1827-1878)
Music: Truro, melody from Psalmodia Evengelica, Part II, 1789; harmony: Lowell Mason (1792-2872), alt.

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It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few small stones; just
pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway
into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.

–Mary Oliver

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