Pause for Prayer: FRIDAY 6/10

Photo by Mark Penta

The photo was taken by Mark Penta, friend and caricaturist, on the beach in Falmouth...

A Scallop Shell's Prayer

Most shell collectors pass me by, Lord,
and if by some mistake they pick me up
they toss me aside or back into the sea...

You see: I'm imperfect, I'm uneven.
Asymmetrical is what I am, Lord.

I'm broken, chipped, 
not whole the way I used to be before
some oceanic accident took a piece of me
that's gone forever, now  swept far away
by currents much too strong for me to challenge...

And so I've lived by Falmouth's shores for years.
I've been beached more times than I can count
but then a wave will wash me back
and back and forth I've gone until 
the waters, sand and rocks 
have smoothed my jagged edge,
and rounded my rough side...

You've given me a beauty not quite perfect,
asymmetrical, uneven and yet whole:
for I am the shell I am, Lord...

You've buffed and polished me with care
until what's gone and what has healed
are now as one and part of who I am
and though I miss what I have lost
I am still whole
unto you and to myself...

Most collectors only see what I have lost
but you have taught me how to see what I still have,
who I still am, who I've become
since that oceanic accident took a piece of me
that's now forever gone...

I am the shell I am, Lord, 
and in your sight
no more, no less am I...

I see what's there, still there, and thank you
for the colors of my fan-spread ribs, my strength,
and the fine brush strokes tracing lacy hints
of your abiding presence...

Yes, most collectors pass me by
and if by some mistake they pick me up
I'm tossed aside or back into the sea
but you have saved me, Lord, and kept me
and for this I give you thanks:
my imperfect, asymmetrical, uneven
heartfelt praise and thanks...


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  1. Hello Fr., from Manila , Philippines, the other side of the world from you. I would like to thank you for sharing your poetry, photos, thoughts. I have been reading them daily for over a year. They are a part of my morning prayers. God bless you always and know that I thank God for you and pray for you.

  2. Messages like yours make all the time and effort worth it - thank you, dear reader from Manila!


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