(photo by Devin Pedde)
i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
The time came when all that is merely human failed,
And the best efforts of medics and wise men with all the tools of two thousand years of trying
Came to nought. I was cut adrift from myself, destined to wither
If I could not salvage a suitable reason to live,
Finally cut off from the omnipotence of parental help,
Finally segregated from the abundant generosity of friends,
Finally having exhausted the relief that the centuries had garnered from the vials and occult theories of civilization’s finest minds.
There were no relieving drugs or miracles, no soothing words enough or clever theorems.
Only the simple words I heard as a child of a God
And could make a blind man see for no reason save love.
So I sought Him in simplicity and fear, perhaps in desperation,
More in doubt than faith, more in faltering words than bold eloquence.
I offered Him my energies all the days of my life if He would but attend my pleading, bring back the joy of morning, the serenity of the trees, the soothing resonance of sunset.
I asked not fame or power, security or success, only the wholeness that every other recourse had denied me.
Softly He spoke, not in Sinai’s thunder or Noe’s rain, not in transcending light upon a mountain, nor even in a whispered call along the shores of Galilee.
He only spoke of patience and enough time, of listening to the day and attending the night,
That wholeness would come when my heart was pure again,
And my aspirations were those of a child grown to manhood.
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 I will 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.
—Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude
Turn to me and be gracious to me,
For I am lonely and afflicted.
The troubles of my heart are enlarged;
Bring me out of my distresses.
Look upon my affliction and my
And forgive all my sins.
We must not picture destiny as a film unrolling for the most part on its own, but in which our prayers are sometimes allowed to insert additional items. On the contrary; what the film displays to us as it unrolls already contains the results of our prayers and of all our other acts. There is no question whether an event has happened because of your prayer. When the event you prayed for occurs your prayer has always contributed to it. When the opposite event occurs your prayer has never been ignored; it has been considered and refused, for your ultimate good and the good of the whole universe. (For example, because it is better for you and for everyone else in the long run that other people, including wicked ones, should exercise free will than that you should be protected from cruelty or treachery by turning the human race into automata.) But this is, and must remain, a matter of faith. You will, I think, only deceive yourself by trying to find special evidence for it in some cases more than in others.
—C.S. Lewis, from Miracles