16 September 2005

A birthday prayer

Found this prayer/poem at Maggi Dawn's:

O Lord my God
teach my heart
where and how to seek you,
where and how to find you.
O Lord you are my God
and you are my Lord
and I have never seen you.
You have made me and remade me,
and you have bestowed on me all the good things I possess
and still I do not know you.

I have not yet done that for which I was made.

Teach me to seek you
for I cannot seek you unless you teach me
or find you unless you show yourself to me.
Let me seek you in my desire,
let me desire you in my seeking.
Let me find you by loving you,
let me love you when I find you.
-St. Anselm

I recently celebrated one of Those birthdays... the kind one notices in the way one notices when the car odometer suddenly is all zeroes after the first number. When one is a child, birthdays are (usually, one hopes) unalloyed joy and excitement. Somewhere down the road, resignation begins to creep in. At some point, there might even be a temptation to despair. At the very least, the mirror enforces the need for conscious acceptance of the truth that our bodies wear out. But, with God's grace, we can pray with St. Anselm: I have not yet done that for which I was made. I agree with Maggie; that line is my favorite.

It is the fulcrum on which sadness and regret (I have not done...) can, with God's grace, be balanced by hope and trust (yet!).

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