a-Lenten-prayer-a-day, day 1, Ash Wednesday, March 1, 2017

my-hands-2-27-17 Note: As a personal, spiritual discipline, I write a prayer for each of the forty days of Lent; each petition focusing on a theme, truly, relating to a care or concern weighing on my mind and heart, at times, vexing my soul and spirit…

On the incomprehensibility of the Divine:[1] O God, I do not understand You. The grace of Your Love, granting unto me a salvation that I do not, that I cannot merit, verily, that I think, that I believe impossible for me, and the mercy of Your Love withholding from me the righteous judgment that I, in my sin, deserve, is beyond my comprehension. You are beyond my comprehension. As Your prophet Isaiah declares, Your ways are higher than my ways and Your thoughts than my thoughts,[2] so my greatest imagining, my grandest thought of You, like a sightless, errant arrow falls far short, ne’er a threat to draw near to Your goodness and glory. Nevertheless, though You remain beyond the sight and reach of my reason, You, in Your love, ever stand within the light and grasp of my faith; a faith, which by Your Spirit you grant me, to trust in You. In that faith, in that trust, I give You thanks, always and in all ways. Amen.

Footnotes:

[1] Over many years, I have pondered the words of The Creed of Saint Athanasius, which reads in part: “…the Catholic Faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance…The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible…there are not three incomprehensibles…but…one incomprehensible…” Each time, though drawing no nearer to understanding, all I can say is “Amen.”

[2] See Isaiah 55.8-9

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9 thoughts on “a-Lenten-prayer-a-day, day 1, Ash Wednesday, March 1, 2017

  1. Thank you Paul!! I look forward to the daily prayers!!

    God truly is Incomprehensible!! I have faith and trust in God and thankfully I feel God’s love every day! When I’m at my lowest, HE lifts me up. When things are going well HE loves me and keeps me safe. This Lent I don’t want to give up anything. I want to take on being more disciplined in my prayer, particularly in thanking God for loving and guiding me AND for all the Blessings in my life. Your series will be a great step in helping me to achieve my Lenten goal!!

    Much love always!

    Loretta

    Liked by 1 person

    • Now, my beloved sister, you KNOW I ever am happy if and when I can do anything to be of aid to you!

      As for the genesis of this idea, I am not certain of all the reasons it arose in my mind and heart, soul and spirit (believing, as I do, that much of human beingness resides in the unconscious self!). Still, of reasons of which I am conscious and, thus, aware…

      I long to deepen my prayer life. I long to draw nearer to God, Who, I believe, always yearns to draw near to me and everyone, and, indeed, always is near. I also long to explore “out loud” in written word some of my wrestlings and wonderments, discoveries and revelations. The excitement for me is that I have not a certain clue as to what will come up over the 40 days of Lent. This first prayer on God’s incomprehensibility, at least, to me, is a fine and fitting and faithful start!

      Love

      Liked by 1 person

      • You want to deepen your prayer life?? Wow, you are already my mentor for prayer life yet you want to get even better!! I’m impressed!! AND I’m excited too to see what this 40 days holds for me and for you!!

        Much love!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I want, I will (intend) to deepen my prayer life.

        Something I’ve been pondering more in regard to our human mortality (a thought, doubtless, prompted all the more by Tim’s death; for his larger-than-life quality of being continues to make his death difficult to countenance, hard to wrap my mind and heart around)…

        As one who believes in God, I believe life in this world continues in the eternal presence of God, thus, I think, the substance of the prayer that speaks of our going “from strength to strength in the life of perfect service.” Of that is so, then it seems to me that we never arrive at perfection or at a place where and when there is nothing more to learn, no more need to grow toward the fullness of life in and with God through Christ. If that is so, then even in this earthly realm, we all have growing to do. Moreover, when or as we slip back and sometimes lose the advances we’ve made, here, too, is a presenting reality of our need to continue pressing on.

        Love

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I woke up this morning wanting to withdraw from most public life and into prayer, home-life, and creative effort…my heart aches so much for what is happening in our country. The discord among family and friends, the hate speak, the hate acts, the fear, the sadness, the lack of leadership, the constant grief…it overwhelmed me this morning. When I remembered Lent began today, I thought great first step: I can stop Social Media for Lent and return to a life that consisted of a much smaller community, one without so much conflict. And here you are literally with your first prayer speaking to my very heart. Oh God I do not understand you. Thank you Paul. I look forward to taking this Lenten journey with you. Gratitude, Love, and Peace!

    Liked by 1 person

    • And, please trust me, you, in writing of your consternations with the temperament of our times, have expressed soulfully eloquently the sentiments of my heart. Thank you!

      I suspect that way down in the depths of me where, in the Apostle’s words, I speak with sighs too deep for words, came the genesis of this my Lenten discipline of crafting a-prayer-a-day. I am not at all certain what will come up during these 40 days, but I am called to listen, then write.

      Praying peace in our hearts,
      Paul

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Paul,

    I sit this Ash Wednesday morning in the sunny warmth of southern Florida, anticipating return tonight to the cold of Minnesota. I had already been puzzling in my heart how I will observe a Lenten season this year in the depths of sadness I am feeling for our country and our world. I am so comforted that you will be revealing through these days the prayers that your own heart speaks, because of all the hearts I know, yours is among those I trust to speak the true questions and to wait for deeply true responses.

    I will prepare for the cold and darkness of confronting again our human predicament – the curse of our human ego’s weaknesses and our conviction much of the time that they constitute our entire being. But I will look every day for the sunshine and the warmth of God’s constant, all-encompassing love streaming in through moments of lucidity and grace. I expect your daily prayers will be such windows. Thank you, faithful and beloved friend, for being a conduit of God’s love to so many of us.

    Much, much love,

    Karen

    Liked by 1 person

    • Much love, always and in all ways, to and for you, my dear Karen…

      As I continue to reflect on what has been stirred in me, leading me to this Lenten season devotion of writing a prayer-a-day, I am certain that I am not certain of all the reasons (for some, perhaps most are veiled in my unconscious). The reason of which I am sure is that I am a struggling soul who nearly constantly wrestles with himself, my light and shadow, my strength and lack, my humility and hubris, my longing to serve others and myself. Many are the days and times when I struggle to like myself, indeed, my self. Through it all, I have come to a place of trusting me less and trusting God more…

      That said, as I’ve proposed and planned to write a prayer a day, I also am not certain what will arise. I will discover as I go.

      Again, my love,
      Paul

      Like

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