|Image by Stacy Innerst|
As you know from my previous post, my family has suffered the loss of my cousin, Michael.
Lent is a time to ponder our own mortality (Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return), a time to remember our hope for life with Christ forever and a time to bring the sorrows of our hearts to God in prayer.
I'm sure that many if not all who read these words have lost someone, a family member or friend, since last Easter. The loss of someone we love touches our souls in ways that compare with no other experiences.
We bond with those we love and when death, for a time, loosens those bonds we can feel lost, adrift, disconnected and alone. Because such loss wounds our souls it also affects our relationship with God...
One way we come to know the love of God is through our relationships with those who love us, through those whom we love...
When those bonds are loosened, we can find ourselves reaching for God as we never have before...
I think of these words from the Catholic wake service:
Lord, we believe that all the ties of friendship and affectionPerhaps those words and these thoughts might help us prepare for prayer today...
which knit us as one throughout our lives
do not unravel with death...
for those who believe in your love, Lord,
death is not the end, nor does it destroy the bonds
that you forge in our lives....
Lord, hear me as I name those whom I've loved,
those who have loved me,
those who have left this life and my embrace...
Lord, help me remember all that bonded me
to those whom I've lost...
Help me remember what knit us together as one...
Help me to see that the bonds you forged
are not destroyed by death,
that what you knit in my heart
need never unravel,
that it's your desire to keep, to hold in your heart,
all that I have treasured in my heart...
My relationships have not been perfect, Lord,
even with those I've loved,
with those who have loved me.
I've known hurt and disappointment:
sometimes at my hand
and sometimes at the hand of someone who loved me...
Let your healing, Lord, even now,
mend what was broken in my relationships
with those who have died:
let your healing strengthen my love and my bonds
even with those who have gone before me...
Help me to rejoice, Lord, in the love, the peace,
the joy I shared with those who have gone before me:
it's easy to remember their absence, Lord,
let their presence shine in my memories of all we shared...
If I am holding on too long
to one who has gone home to you,
deepen my faith that one day my beloved and I
will meet again in the joy of your kingdom
when your mercy will gather us together, again...
If my soul is angry, despondent, or cold
in my loss and grief:
touch my anger with your mercy;
soften my grief with your comfort;
and warm my heart with your presence...
If, in my grief, I have turned away from you, Lord,
if I have turned away from prayer,
turn my heart around and let me see
that you have not abandoned me,
that you are with me especially in my loss...
Let grief not become my home, Lord,
but rather let it be my path to hope,
the road of trust I need to travel
to make my way from sorrow to tomorrow,
from despair to confidence,
from loneliness to love refreshed by your Spirit...
In the stillness of my prayer, Lord,
there is little to distract me
from what burdens my soul:
in this quiet time, renew my faith in you,
in the love you have shared with me through others
and deepen my faith that in the end
all shall be well
and all shall be well
and all manner of things shall be well...
Be still... and know that God is near...
Are you new to "Praying 10 Minutes a Day in Lent" - or are you having trouble getting started? The first installment offers some thoughts on getting started, as do the subsequent posts in the series. So take a look and join us!
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