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.
On dying & death (in the spirit of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux)…
O Lord, I believe in mortality.
Daily, as I examine the progression of life in this world, even when peering through a lens of light and joy, there is, undeniably, “change and decay in all around I see.”
Daily, too, I experience the procession of my aging; the “change and decay” in me of slower thought and shorter memory, sinew less supple and strength swifter spent.
Yea, O Lord, I believe life in this world is terminal and, one day, I will die.
Yet, O Lord, I believe (even more!) in You. I believe that as You have not brought me this far to leave me, now, as I know what is physical and perishable, then, I forever finally, fully will know what is spiritual and eternal.
O Lord, steady my faith that I, on my dying day, with gratitude undying, fail not to fear not coming to You to behold You by sight face to face.
Saint Thérèse of Lisieux (né Marie Françoise-Thérèse Martin) (1873-1897), Roman Catholic Carmelite nun revered for the simplicity and practicality of her approach to the spiritual life, on her deathbed was heard to have murmured, “I am not dying. I am entering into life.”
The words, “change and decay…” are from the second verse of one of my favorite hymns, Abide with me, fast falls the eventide (1847), words by Henry Francis Lyte (1793-1847). The full verse:
Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away.
Change and decay in all around I see.
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
The phrase, “…have not brought me this far to leave me,” is drawn from the song, I don’t feel noways tired (1976), by James Cleveland (1931-1991)