A-Lenten-Prayer-a-Day, Day 35, Monday in Holy Week

Note: As a personal, spiritual discipline, reviving my practice in the Lenten season of 2017, I revise the prayers I wrote then for each of the forty days of this Lent; each petition focusing on a theme, a concern weighing on my mind and heart or a care of my soul and spirit.

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On the restlessness of early morn (being a meditation on Ephesians 5.15-16)…

O Lord, I awoke in this morning’s wee hours upon my bed of ease with its firm mattress and clean, crisp sheets soothing the mild infirmities of my aging flesh (did You, O Lord, stir me from my rest?).

Rising, I was led to the window (by You, O Lord?).

There standing, further bidden (by You, O Lord?), I gazed up into Your sky; alit by Your distant vapor-veiled, full, pre-Easter Day moon and, farther still, Your winking stars.

I wondered (did You, O Lord, disturb my mind with this thought?) about the eyes of others, my sisters and my brothers of the human family in which You birthed me to share, who also gazed into Your infinite space; though not with the liberty I enjoy, but without choice, for they had no other place to be, but out-of-doors, in open-air.

The homeless, fending for themselves on dim-lit streets and darkened alleys, lacking sufficient means to inhabit abodes on avenues with names and numbered addresses called their own.

The refugees, by ruthless powers and principalities heedless of human kindness, forced, bomb-strafed, from their homes to set off across unforgiving terrain toward unfamiliar lands praying for uncertain asylum.

The abused, in fear, fleeing olden lovers, who, now, are habitual transgressors of all sense of sanctity and safety.

The fresh innocence of youth, held captive, cruelly coerced to barter their bodies to favor lustful hearts and hands.

The addicted with stung, needle-marked flesh, lolling brows and listless bodies.

And they, aye, all of us seeking shelter where, if it can be found, taking cover under a hovering, crowning viral threat.

O Lord, I wish none of this was true; all of it, an ephemeral image, a dream, a nightmare from which all awaken sheltered from harm.

Alas, all and more, is true. As true, my heart is not, cannot be tranquil.

O Lord, I beseech You, tell me what to do? What do I do? What can I do?

Amen.

 

Endnote: Ephesians 5.15-16 (my emphasis): Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. The writer’s primary point, as I interpret it, is a summons to those who follow Christ to reject the ways of their former lives. However, the crux of the word “the days are evil” strikes a resonant chord in my heart. For so much of what I behold and capture in this prayer is, for me, the personification of evil; all that denies and defies God.

5 thoughts on “A-Lenten-Prayer-a-Day, Day 35, Monday in Holy Week

  1. Dear Paul,

    Thank you for painting this scene of your early-morning awakening, with its descent/ascent into prayer for human conditions. We journey into a Holy Week different from those we have experienced before, perhaps more aware of our unseverable connections to those we rarely consider, perhaps more aware of our own frailty and dependency, perhaps becoming more aware that we wield in our own hands and experience from the hands of others elements of God’s grace, so far as it is available on this earth to comfort affliction and to mitigate suffering.

    May we be prepared to learn in a new way this Holy Week that the law of Love is the only law that ultimately matters to anyone, even as much as we may prefer to follow other laws at the expense of Love.

    I wish you a deeply thoughtful, blessed week, Paul. Peace be with you.

    Love,

    Karen

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  2. Aye, dearest Karen, “the law of Love,” indeed, “is the only law that ultimately matters to anyone.”

    A discovery… I have found that in these days of social distancing and self-isolation (tho’, in another post, I deem that we human beings, especially Americans have been practicing social [surely, political, which, in some sense, is of the same cloth as social, as in relational] distancing and self-isolation for some time), I have grown more patient. In some sense, as a native introvert (and an extrovert only, largely by virtue of vocation), I savor this time of being…choosing to be housebound. Still, when I venture out and encounter my sisters and brothers engaging in counterproductive, indeed, health-hazardous behaviors, in a case or two, I’ve suggested another way (not well-received) and, in other cases, I have made room for others to precede me (say, at the grocery store). I also find that I have no sense of needing to serve as their judge…

    Moreover, today, I had a physical exam/test that required being still for an hour. I relished the motionless and my mind, at first, aflutter with thought, soon quieted; save for the buffeting noise (’twas an MRI)…

    Whate’er sense of peace I have found (or, rather, that I have been given) in this time, I pray remains whether this moment of the collapsing of our existential norms ends.

    Love and peace, always and in all ways, to you, Ted, and Emilia,
    Paul

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    1. Dear Paul,

      I know there are all kinds of reasons for MRIs, and I just want to hope aloud that yours was prompted by lesser concerns rather than greater. And I hope the outcome was positive news or word of something that is easily addressed. I have an MRI pending myself, but fortunately it is one that can easily wait until visiting a medical establishment is a little less fraught with risks. All that to say, I sure hope you’re OK, my friend.

      Also, I can so identify with feeling you describe of not being too out of sorts with being housebound. As a dyed-in-the-wool introvert I always was fond of the phrase “Stop the world; I want to get off” that served as the title of a Broadway musical and song sometime in the 60’s. A number of times since the virus put an end to so many of our regular activities and gatherings I’ve thought that this is certainly the closest we’ve ever come in my lifetime to having the world stop so that we can get off for a while. I know many people are suffering and some are dying, and I can’t fathom minimizing their pain, but I personally am pretty much OK (except for not being able to see and hug my daughter).

      Take care of yourself, Paul, and help Pontheolla, for whom I suspect this is VERY hard, take care of herself too. You both have my love and my supportive prayers for your safety, strength, and peace of mind.

      Love,

      Karen

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  3. Always, my dearest Karen, I thank you for your words; ever thoughtful and compassionate.

    Yes, I do believe that this time of social-distancing and self-isolation is more difficult for Pontheolla (truly, an extrovert) than for me. Moreover, she, as the primary owner, bears the burdens of our business, which, at this time of global work-and-(for some)-life-stoppage, means that we have no business. We taken to ruminating on what our business will look like should it survive (which we hope it will). All things in time…

    As for me and my health, the MRI was occasioned by matters attending to the physicality of a man nearer to 70 years than not. In a day or two, so, I’m told, I’ll know something more than I know now.

    Love, always and in all ways,
    Paul

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    1. I have been thinking so much of you and Pontheolla and Clevedale in this time, Paul. I know that these conditions must be devastating for small businesses like yours. What Pontheolla has built, with your loving commitment and support, is so wonderful, so needed, so irreplaceable. I pray, and I will have faith, that there is a way through these days, and that Clevedale and everything it offers to the community and to people from all over the world will be an institution and a treasure for the long haul. I promise you that once this crisis passes and travel is once again possible, Ted and I (and hopefully Emilia) will come to Clevedale again for a respite in one of the very sweetest places we know. I can’t imagine that many of your former guests and patrons aren’t feeling the same way.

      As for your MRI, you have my fervent prayers that you hear good news soon, dear Paul. I’m thinking of you.

      Take care, and much love,

      Karen

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