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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Merton's Prayer for Peace

A prayer for Sunday's post seems appropriate. Although I'm getting this post out so late that subscribers might not get it until Monday. Speaking of Monday, I have to have a root canal tomorrow. I forgot about that when I decided to try NaBloPoMo again. I'm not going to try to post tomorrow, which takes me out of the NaBloPoMo competition. I'll have to see how the root canal goes before I decide how often I'm going to try to post for the rest of the month.

This Prayer for Peace was written by Thomas Merton, read in Congress on April 18, 1962 and placed in the Congressional Record. It was at the request of Frank Kowalksi, Congressman from Connecticut.  In 1962 the Vietnam War was happening, but it seems to be totally applicable here and now.  It also seems to me that it's a prayer that might be accepted by most religions.





What does this have to do with chronic illness, you might ask?  I'll tell you what I think about that at the end of this post.

Prayer for Peace

Almighty and merciful God, Father of all men, Creator and ruler of the universe,
Lord of all history, whose designs are without blemish, whose compassion for
the errors of men is inexhaustible, in your will is our peace.

Mercifully hear this prayer which rises to you from the tumult and desperation
of a world in which you are forgotten, in which your name is not invoked,
your laws are derided and your presence is ignored. Because we do not
know you, we have no peace.

From the heart of an eternal silence, you have watched the rise of empires
and have seen the smoke of their downfall. You have witnessed the impious
fury of ten thousand fratricidal wars, in which great powers have torn whole
continents to shreds in the name of peace and justice.

A day of ominous decision has now dawned on this free nation. Save us then
from our obsessions! Open our eyes, dissipate our confusions, teach us
to understand ourselves and our adversary. Let us never forget that sins
against the law of love are punishable by loss of faith, and those
without faith stop at no crime to achieve their ends!

Help us to be masters of the weapons that threaten to master us.
Help us to use our science for peace and plenty, not for war and
destruction. Save us from the compulsion to follow our adversaries
in all that we most hate, confirming them in their hatred and
suspicion of us. Resolve our inner contradictions, which now
grow beyond belief and beyond bearing. They are at once a torment
and a blessing: for if you had not left us the light of conscience,
we would not have to endure them. Teach us to wait and trust.

Grant light, grant strength and patience to all who work for peace.
But grant us above all to see that our ways are not necessarily
your ways, that we cannot fully penetrate the mystery of your
designs and that the very storm of power now raging on this earth
reveals your hidden will and your inscrutable decision.

Grant us to see your face in the lightning of this cosmic storm,
O God of holiness, merciful to men. Grant us to seek peace where
it is truly found. In your will, O God, is our peace.

Amen.

Thomas Merton (1915-1968)





Incidental Writings

And that the very storm of power now raging on this earth
Reveals your hidden will and our inscrutable decision.
Grants us to see your face in the lightning of this cosmic storm,
O God of holiness, merciful to men:
Grant us to seek peace where it is truly found!
In your will, O God, is our peace!
Amen









What is the real face of Thomas Merton?
"When he painted the portrait of his friend Merton standing near the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky (below), Ed Rice deliberately blanked out Tom's face. He confessed to being confused. Over the years, the scholars, the followers, publishers, the church itself, had drawn a portrait that was unrecognizable, that of a plastic saint, a monk interested mainly in pulling nonbelievers, and believers in other faiths, into the one true religion. This was not the Merton that his friends from younger days and later days, Jim Knight and Ed Rice, knew. Merton was eminently human. He honored, and reached out to other faiths. He loved, he laughed. In essence he was a poet, who used words to help us understand the thousands of things we need to understand. This is his portrait, as recalled by his very close friends."
~Jim Knight




As promised, here's what this has to do with chronic illness.

All this talk about war, even though it's poetic and in the spirit of peace, makes me wonder 'What if?'  What if there was a disaster where I live?  I have some friends who lived through Hurricane Ike in 2008 at Crystal Beach, TX; but they lost everything (See Hurricane Ike hits me where I used to live:Crystal Beach, Texas).  They lost their home, their business, everything but their lives and what they took with them when they evacuated.  After things had settled down some, I asked my friend if she knew anything about what was happening to people with chronic illness.  She thought for awhile, then she said simply, 'I think they just die.' 

And on the up side, be prepared.  Check out Ready.gov for how to do that.  They even have a link for people with disabilities that applies to those with chronic illness - invisible or not - instead of just those with wheelchairs and or blindness or deafness.  I find that to be very rare when the general term "disability" is used.

If we do all the things suggested, I think we will as ready for disaster as we can be.  Not that I've done it all.  Maybe this post will inspire me to do something instead of just worrying about 'What if?'

2 comments:

Aviva said...

Good luck with the root canal. I found out last week I need to have my first root canal done too. I'd love ot hear your experience with it all, although I know that every person (and even every tooth) can be a totally different experience.

I hope yours is as painfree as possible, and the recovery goes swiftly!

Sherril said...

Thanks, Aviva.

I got through the root canal, my second in two weeks, and they're right next to each other. I've had six root canals all told, one of them had to be done twice and it still didn't take - I had to have the tooth out anyway. The two I just had done were by an endodonist, a root canal specialist. There was a lot of calcification and my regular dentist didn't want to mess with them.

They weren't fun but I've had worse. I hope yours is as pain free as possible, and the recovery goes swiftly also!

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