by Mary Campbell

from
Sister Alma Rose Has the Last Word

Before there was anything else on Earth,
there was a great sea. The Creator
reached out and touched the sea, and thus
began life. A living thing thrived in the
great sea, moving, moving, always toward
life.

And the one became many, and the many
grew in size and variety and beauty, and
in something not quite like knowledge.
The living things in the sea did not know
the sea, because there was nothing else,
only the sea that was vast and green and
beautiful. They did not know that without
the sea they could not live. They did not
know about the sun or the moon or the
stars.

Then the Creator reached out again and
caused a great upheaval of the Earth, and
mountains rose up out of the sea. In time
the rains and the sun and the tides
gentled the mountains, and there were
beaches and valleys. The sun raised water
from the sea, and the wind blew the water
over the land and baptized it with life —
green and spreading, growing, and
growing more, always toward life.
Then the tides threw creatures from the
sea onto the dry land, and some were
carried back into the deep, but one found
the land to be hospitable, and that one
thrived, creeping upon the land and
swimming in the sea.

And the one became many, and the many
grew in size and variety and beauty, and
in something not quite like knowledge,
but rather in a sense of the difference
between dry land and water. Moving,
moving, always toward life, they found
that streams flowed from the mountains
to the sea, and they thrived in and
alongside the streams, which came from
the rain, which the sun raised from the
sea.

The green things — spreading, growing,
and growing more, always toward life —
became broad and tall, and beckoned the
creeping things to feast on their fruit. In
time, the strongest of the creatures made
claws to scale the trees, and some made
wings out of their fins to soar over oceans
and rivers and land . But even those who
built nests and lived and bore their young
in trees required water to survive, just as
did the creatures who swam only in the
sea.

And the dryland creatures became many,
and the many grew in size and variety
and beauty, and in something a little more
like knowledge, until one arose from all
the creatures who roamed the earth, and
that one had knowledge and more; that
one had understanding.

And the one became many, and the many
grew in size and variety and strength and
intelligence. But some of the people
turned their intelligence toward small,
inward things, and forgot about the sea,
and with all their understanding, they did
not know that they had come from the
sea and required it to survive, just as did
the creatures who swam only in the sea.
They injured the streams, though they
required them to survive. They injured
the creatures who swam in the streams;
they injured the air and the land and the
sea; they blocked the sun — though they
required all these things to survive.

In their minds, they forgot about the
eternal sea, though their hearts
remembered, and pulsed with
admonition. And the people were uneasy,
because they believed that their minds
were more powerful than their hearts.
And so they defied their hearts, and thus
they injured even the streams that flowed
through their bodies, pulsing from their
hearts with admonition.

But in every age, among all the peoples,
there have been those who have
remembered the eternal sea, who have
known that, where pure streams cannot
flow, living things shrivel and perish, and
where the mind is not nourished by the
heart, the mind withers and is sterile.

Those who remember are the teachers
and sages, the Wise Ones, the Ancients,
the embodied admonitions of the
heart’s pulsing. They say to us,
Swim,
always, in the remembered pure streams
that flow to the sea. Immerse yourself
always in that awareness, which is
prayer. When you drink clear water,
know it as a ceremony and celebrate the
eternal sea, which is something that we
know of God. For prayer is to the spirit
as water is to the body… and those who
immerse themselves in prayer will be
continually refreshed and renewed.

    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;
    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. Amen.

    —St. Francis of Assisi,
    13th century, accessed
    from World Prayers
    Teach us, good Lord, to serve thee
    as thou deservest;
    to fight and not to heed the wounds;
    to toil and not to seek for rest;
    to labor and not to ask for any
    reward,
    save that of knowing we do thy will.
    Amen.
    -Ignatius Loyola
Let us pray to the Lord. Lord have mercy.

O Lord Almighty, the Healer of our souls
and bodies, You Who put down and raise
up, Who chastise and heal also; do You
now, in him (her) up from his (her) bed,
and cure him (her) of his (her) illness. Put
away from him (her) the spirit of disease
and of every O Lord Almighty, the Healer
of our souls and bodies, You Who put has
sins and transgressions, grant to him
(her) remission and down and raise up,
Who chastise and heal also; do You now,
in Stretch forth Your hand that is full of
healing and health, and get him (her) up
from his (her) bed, and cure him (her) of
his (her) illness. Put away from him (her)
the spirit of disease and of every malady,
pain and fever to which he (she) is bound;
and if he (she) has sins and
transgressions, grant to him (her)
remission and forgiveness, in that You
love mankind; yea, Lord my God, pity
Your creation, through the compassions of
Your Only-Begotten Son, together with
Your All-Holy, Good and Life-creating
Spirit, with Whom You are blessed, both
now and ever, and to the ages of ages.
Amen.

Let us pray to the Lord. Lord have mercy.

O Lord our God, Who by word alone did
heal all diseases, Who did cure the
kinswoman of Peter, You Who chastise
with pity and heal according to Your
goodness; Who are able to put aside every
malady and infirmity, do You Yourself,
the same Lord, grant aid to this Your
servant (Name) and cure him (her) of
every sickness of which he (she) is
grieved; lift him (her) up from his (her)
bed of pain, and send down upon him
(her) Your great mercy, and if it be Your
Will, give to him (her) health and a
complete recovery; for You are the
Physician of our souls and bodies, and to
You do we send up Glory: to Father, and
to Son, and to Holy Spirit, both now and
ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.
    (source unknown)
    1
    Lord, you said that when two or three
    would gather together in your name,
    then you would be present with them.
    I am praying by myself (or ‘on the Internet’)
    but I am uniting myself
    with many individual Christians
    throughout the world
    who, though separate,
    are gathered together in another sense
    to pray to you,
    and I trust that you are with me now.
    (NH)

    2
    When the thought of you wakens in us
    God our heavenly Father,
    when the thought of you
    wakes in our hearts,
    let its awakening
    not be like a startled bird
    that flies about in fear.
    Instead, let it be like a child
    waking from sleep
    with a heavenly smile. (Søren Kierkegaard)

    3
    Christ our Morning Star
    O Christ, our Morning Star,
    Splendour of Light Eternal,
    shining with the glory of the rainbow,
    come and waken us
    from the greyness of our apathy,
    and renew in us your gift of hope. Amen.
    (Bede the Venerable)

    4
    Come, Holy Spirit
    Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful,
    and enkindle in them the fire of your love.
    Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created
    And you shall renew the face of the earth.
    O God, who has taught the hearts of the faithful
    by the light of the Holy Spirit,
    grant that by the gift of the same Spirit
    we may be always truly wise
    and ever rejoice in his consolation.
    Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

    5
    At the rising of your sun
    Lord God, Creator of light,
    at the rising of your sun each morning,
    let the greatest of all lights-your love-
    rise, like the sun, within my heart.

    6
    Prayer of St Columba
    Be, Lord Jesus, a bright flame before me,
    a guiding star above me,
    a smooth path below me,
    a kindly shepherd behind me:
    today, tonight, and forever.

    7
    I will be busy
    O Lord,
    you know how busy
      I must be this day.
    If I forget you,
    do not forget me.
    (Sir Jacob Astley, before the
    Battle of Edgehill, 1642)

    8
    Prayer of a Breton fisherman
    Lord, the sea is so wide
    and my boat is so small.
    Be with me.

    9
    Close to me
    Lord, you are closer to me
    than my own breathing,
    nearer than my hands and feet.
    (St Teresa of Avila)

    10
    The Grail Prayer
    Lord Jesus,
    I give you my hands to do your work.
    I give you my feet to go your way.
    I give you my eyes to see as you do.
    I give you my tongue to speak your words.
    I give you my mind that you may think in me.
    I give you my spirit that you may pray in me.
    Above all,
    I give you my heart that you may love in me
    your Father and all mankind.
    I give you my whole self that you may
    grow in me,
    so that it is you, Lord Jesus,
    who live and work and pray in me.

    11
    Praying the offering of self
    Lord Jesus,
    you told your friends
    not to worry about the future.
    You showed them
    how to have the attitude of simple trust
    that young children have,
    so that they could place themselves
    into the caring hands of your Father.
    And so I ask for the power of your Spirit
    that I may remain positive
    throughout all that is ordinary in
    my daily life.
    I know that your touch
    can change people and situations,
    and so I ask you
    to join me in offering to our Father
    not only the good things of this day
    but also the suffering and sacrifices
    that I want to offer cheerfully and lovingly,
    and in a quiet and hidden way.
    And so may any difficulties
    and frustration and pain of this day
    be transformed in your presence
    for the benefit of other people. Amen.
    (NH)
Praise the Lord, O my soul
All that is within me, Praise his holy name
He forgives all my sins
He redeems my life from the pit
And crowns me with love and compassion
He satisfies my desires with good things
So that my youth is renewed like the
eagle's
Prayers, Song Prayers, Devotionals
St. Francis of Assisi with Sultan Al-Kamil
A Book by Philip Yancey
Reviewed by Publishers Weekly

Yancey strikes a moving chord with this
book that is more full of yearning and
wonder than it is of easy answers. Prayer,
he writes, is our partnership with God,
our chance to join forces with God's power
to confront suffering and evil head-on.

Yancey is candid about his nagging sense
of failure in prayer, but the book is
suffused with a cautious hope;
he writes
of his growing confidence and joy as
his prayer life has deepened from a
spiritualized to-do list to a
conversational communion with
God.

The key, Yancey writes, is that prayer is
a window into knowing the mind of God,
whose kingdom is entrusted to all of us
frail, selfish people on earth.

As with his other books, Yancey draws
upon his international travels to bring a
fresh perspective to the topic, detailing, in
nations such as Romania and South
Africa, how he believes prayer has
transformed hearts and permitted
bloodless change.

The book's strength lies in its balance,
with Yancey holding equally important
ideals in a beautiful tension: action and
meditation, doubt and certainty, and the
unchanging God with the God who
appears so moved by people's petitions in
the Bible that he changes his mind.
Yancey also offers some ... insightful
observations about Jesus' own prayer life.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed
Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

    St. Ignatius
    of  Loyola
    1491-1556

    WEATHERING THE STORM
    Father God, Today I am afraid. I
    look around me at this world that
    is changing so fast and I feel lost
    like a small boat in the midst of a
    storm. I am not built to weather
    the battering waves or the
    howling wind. So I wait now in
    your presence. You spoke the
    oceans and the four winds into
    being. You threw the stars in the
    sky and separated the sea from
    dry land. You took the hand of
    Peter who was sinking into the
    depths of the water and walked
    him to safety. I choose now to fix
    my eyes on you and not on the
    storm. I settle my heart on your
    love and not on the current that
    threatens to pull me under.
    Thank you that you are my firm
    anchor even through the darkest
    night, Amen
    --by Sheila Walsh, author of
    Let Go
The Creation of Prayer
    Featured in the video to
    the left is Nicholas James
    Vujicic (born 4 December
    1982), a preacher, a
    motivational speaker, and
    the Director of the
    nonprofit Life Without
    Limbs.. He was born with
    Tetra-amelia syndrome,
    which is found in only a
    few families worldwide.
    Besides the absence of all
    four limbs, the syndrome
    usually involves other
    severe medical problems,
    and most affected children
    die shortly after birth.
    Vujicic is thus unusual in
    having not only survived
    but apparently thrived....

    I pray we, all children of the earth, no matter our path to enlightenment, come
    to realize that we are one. We may walk our own paths, but we are not alone,
    for we walk at the same time, toward the same end/beginning. From our
    individual perspectives, be we Pagan, Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddist, Taoist,
    or Hindu, are the same. I pray that we all feel the love of our Creator and by
    example learn to see each other as brothers and sisters, allowing the boundary
    lines of religion to fade away. May the Lord and Lady bless your path. May you
    always have enough, and may you give enough in return. Blessed Be.  
    Beliefnet member Fae Aisling
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