Last night at a birthday party for a dear friend, one of her childhood friends shared a prayer her godmother taught her when she was young. All of us facing challenges of various shapes and sizes (some rather large) took such comfort in her recited prayer, we asked her to write it out. She said her godmother learned it from Benedictine monks at a monastery in Elmira, NY.
“Now in the fading light of day,
Maker of all to You I pray,
That with Your ever-watchful love,
You guard and keep me from above.
Help and defend me through the night,
Danger and terror put to flight.
Never let evil have its way,
Preserve me for another day.
Father Almighty this be done,
Through Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who in one Spirit I adore,
Who reigns with You forevermore. Amen.”
With many scary things out there in our whacked out world, paralyzing fears that loom large in our hearts can choke our hopes and dreams – not just at night, but in bright daylight. Methinks this Compline prayer can be adapted for daytime, especially the second part: may God help and defend us in daylight and put danger and terror to flight.
It’s good to remember our Heavenly Father has us in the palm of His hand. Even if we’re walking into (and through) scary ordeals, God’s love is with us – always – so we don’t have to be afraid. (Maybe a little is good to keep us on our knees in prayer.)
Two of my favorite life-long Scripture verses (oft repeated during dark nights, days, months & years) are Psalm 27:1&4.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? One thing have I desired of the Lord, that I will seek after: to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.”
Sure, we can ask: ‘Why this? Why me? Why now?’ (It’s ok to have a venting session with God.) But, then we need to let the light of God’s everlasting love be our strength and our salvation, which means to let go of our fears.
To seek the beauty of the Lord around us, with us, within us.
Not such a hard thing to do on good days, but a bit trickier in tough times to seek something beautiful. Something for which to give thanks. A rose in the rubble?
A rose blooming, yet adorned with thorns?
The rose of God’s love for us always blooms, ever-watchful, ever-present, with petals of persevering grace, peace, comfort, mercy, wisdom and hope.
A candle of Divine Light to guide us through dark paths of night – and scary days.
Virginia : )
“The Christian wears the sureness of Christ.” Archbishop Oscar Romero, martyr for Christ (August 15, 1917 – March 24, 1980)