An evening hymn for Advent from the 8th century:
Come, Sun and Savior, to embrace
Our gloomy world, its weary race,
As groom to bride, as bride to groom:
The wedding chamber, Mary’s womb.
At your great Name, O Jesus, now
All knees must bend, all hearts must bow;
All things on earth with one accord,
Like those in heav’n, shall call you Lord.
Come in your holy might, we pray,
Redeem us for eternal day;
Defend us while we dwell below,
From all assaults of our dread foe.
Advent begins this Sunday, December 3. To prepare, we are praying with the help of Henri Nouwen:
Master of both the light and the darkness,
send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas.
We who have so much to do
seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day.
We who are anxious over many things
look forward to your coming among us.
We who are blessed in so many ways
long for the complete joy of your kingdom.
We whose hearts are heavy
seek the joy of your presence.
We are your people, walking in darkness,
yet seeking the light.
To you we say,
“Come Lord Jesus!”
A Thanksgiving Prayer:
This Thanksgiving, let those of us who have much and those who have little gather at the welcoming table of the Lord. At this blessed feast, may rich and poor alike remember that we are called to serve one another and to walk together in God’s gracious world. With thankful hearts, we praise our God who like a loving parent denies us no good thing.
A prayer for wholeness from Evelyn Underhill:
O Lord, penetrate those murky corners where we hide memories and tendencies on which we do not care to look, but which we will not disinter and yield freely up to you, that you may purify and transmute them: the persistent buried grudge, the half-acknowledged enmity which is still smouldering; the bitterness of that loss we have not turned into sacrifice; the private comfort we cling to; the secret fear of failure which saps our initiative and is really inverted pride; the pessimism which is an insult to your joy, Lord; we bring all these to you, and we review them with shame and penitence in your steadfast light.
A prayer from St. Elizabeth of the Trinity (1880-1906):
O Jesus, even though I fall at every moment, in trustful faith I shall pray to You to raise me up, and I know that You will forgive me, and will blot out everything with care. More than that: You will deliver me from my miseries, from everything that is an obstacle to Your divine action;and will draw all my powers to Yourself, and make them Your captive…Then I shall have passed completely into You and shall be able to say: It is no longer I that live; my Master lives in me.
St. Elizabeth’s feast day is this Wednesday, November 8.
A prayer from the Sarum Breviary:
Thou, who art the eternal protection and salvation of our souls, arm us, we entreat Thee, with the helmet of hope, and the shield of Thy invincible defence; that so, helped by Thee in the straits of our necessities, we may be filled with joy and gladness with those who love Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
A prayer from St. Clement of Alexandria:
Feed us, the children, as sheep. Yes Master, fill us with righteousness. Pasture Your own. Feed us, O Tutor, on Your holy mountain, the Church, which towers aloft, which is above the clouds, which touches heaven.
This week, we are praying Thomas Merton’s most well-known prayer:
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 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.
Today the Church celebrates the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi. This week’s prayer is Francis’s Peace Prayer:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.