a-Lenten-prayer-a-day, day 37, Wednesday in Holy Week, April 12, 2017

my-hands-2-27-17Note: 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 dying & death in the spirit of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux (subtitle: I believe):[1] O Lord, I believe in mortality…

Daily, I examine the progression of life in this world and, e’en when peering through a lens of light and joy, there is, undeniably, “change and decay in all around I see.”[2]

And, daily, I experience the inexorable procession of mine aging; the “change and decay” in me of slower thought and shorter memory, sinew less supple and strength swifter spent.

Yea, so it is I believe that this life in this world is an inherently terminal proposition, and, one day, I know that I will die.

Yet, O Lord, I believe also (and more!) in You. I believe that You have not brought me this far to leave me.[3] I believe that on my dying day, as I have known what is temporal and spatial, physical and perishable, I forever finally fully will know what is spiritual and eternal.[4]

O Lord, by Your Spirit, grant me greater faith that, on my goin’ up yonder[5] day, I, with gratitude undying, fail not to fear not coming to You to behold You by sight face to face. Amen.

Footnotes:

[1] Saint Thérèse of Lisieux Saint Thérèse of Lisieux (1873-1897), Roman Catholic Carmelite nun revered for the simplicity and practicality of her approach to the spiritual life, on her deathbed was heard to have murmured, “I am not dying. I am entering into life.”

[2] From one of my favorite hymns, Abide with me, by Henry Francis Lyte (1793-1847). The full text of verse 2:

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;

Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;

Change and decay in all around I see;

O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

[3] From the gospel song, I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired (1978) by Curtis Burrell:

I don’t feel no ways tired,

I come too far from where I started from.

Nobody told me that the road would be easy,

I don’t believe He brought me this far to leave me.

[4] This prayer is born out of my understanding of two of the Apostle Paul’s teachings: For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens…For while we are still in this tent, we groan under our burden, because we wish not to be unclothed but to be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee (2 Corinthians 5.1, 4-5) and Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable…For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled, “Death has been swallowed up in victory” (1 Corinthians 15.50b, 53-54).

[5] My reference to the gospel song Goin’ Up Yonder (1994) by Walter Hawkins, especially the words: As God gives me grace I’ll run this race until I see my Savior face to face. I’m goin’ up yonder to be with my Lord.

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2 thoughts on “a-Lenten-prayer-a-day, day 37, Wednesday in Holy Week, April 12, 2017

  1. Thanks Paul! We are definitely getting closer to the day we will die. I used to be afraid, but having been close to death a couple of times already, I believe I’m at peace with what’s coming. I feel more comforted with this prayer because as you pointed out, when that time comes God won’t leave me, having brought me this far! I think I’m lucky in the fact that I’ve been at the bedside of both my sister and my husband as they died and it was incredibly peaceful! I hope to just float away with God too. The pain that we feel after our loved ones die is indescribable, but I pray we all have spectacular memories of them to make us smile and comfort our pain.

    With thanks and love!
    Loretta

    Liked by 1 person

    • I believe that sometimes – a truly blessed “sometimes” – have spectacular memories of our loved ones and sometimes our remembrances are tinged with he pain of unresolved issues and things not done or said that ought to have been done or said and things done or said that ought not to have been done or said. Through it all, whether good or not so good memories, the living have to press/carry on, somehow, someway or not. Life and death are difficult realities, at best, I think

      As for death, truth to tell, I’m torn regarding how I see it. This prayer expresses my faith and hope, in the language of the Epistle to the Hebrews, my “assurance of things hoped for and conviction of things unseen.” I don’t know why is beyond my death and, through my faith and hope in God, I pray that I will be drawn into God’s nearest, dearest presence. Now, my mind, my reason tell me that this life is the only life and that after I die, there is no existence, no consciousness for me and that the only continued existence that I will or can have is in the minds and hearts of those who remember me…

      I simply do not, cannot know…

      Nevertheless, I live, dwell in trust.

      Love

      Like

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