The Monk’s Prayer

 

Courtesy MertonCenter.org

 

I never cease to be amazed by what my brain refuses to release.

A few years ago, one of my simple pleasures was watching reruns of The West Wing. I had missed the original airing of the first several seasons because I was in college and had other things to do on Thursday nights — cram for tests and write papers, mostly. As the show shifted into syndication, I found it a welcome respite from studying for anatomy exams and so forth.

Up until the creator left in 2003, the series was exquisitely crafted. It had everything I could ask for: likable characters, gripping yet accessible storylines and intelligent writing. In short, it is the only TV drama I’ve ever watched certain I’d be engaged mentally, too.

I collect quotations.

My appreciation for words often manifests itself as a desire to snatch up every well-said truism that moves me.  Sometimes a phrase sends me to Google on a chase to find the source. About a month ago, I finally located the origin of a line from the episode “Posse Comitatus” which has rattled around in my head since the first time I saw it.

It turns out the work in question, “Thoughts in Solitude” by Thomas Merton, is paraphrased during the scene. As the President pines over a difficult decision, his chief of staff uses a mish-mash of lines three and four to drive a point home.

When I face challenges, I often look to the wisdom I’ve accumulated on my laptop.

The last six weeks have been a whirlwind, of sorts. I am blessed to have had life and meaning breathed into my faith for the first time. Simultaneously, I’ve endured some disappointments and been frustrated by confusion. In tough hours (and occasionally through tears), this writing has become more than a jewel in my treasure chest of enlightenment.

It has transformed into a prayer.

And, as I become more certain by the day of my role in this magnificent cosmos, I want to share with you something that helps me remember what we forget all too often:

God loves us.

There is no way to go through life without peaks or valleys. In the latter, when loneliness or doubts hang like a thick fog in your mind, it is hard to comforted by the knowledge He’s working on your behalf — believe me, I understand. Even now, as I step out into the world comprehending truths I’ve known since I was a child, I still feel strange trusting my heart. Maybe I always will.

Regardless of your beliefs, if you’re struggling, I hope you might find some relief in reading the poem below. Before you do, make every effort to remind yourself of this:

He is faithful and will deliver.

MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

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