John Baldovin SJ invited students at the beginning of our Eucharistic Theology course to sign up to lead an opening prayer at some point this semester. Today was my day.
Here's what we prayed:
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit
We call ourselves into the presence of our mysterious Creator
And in a special way send what peace we can find in our hearts to everyone wounded, killed, affected or involved in the causes or effects of the violence at Virginia Tech
Thirst by Mary Oliver
Another morning and I wake with thirst for the goodness I do not have. I walk out to the pond and all the way God has given us such beautiful lessons. Oh Lord, I was never a quick scholar but sulked and hunched over my books past the hour and the bell; grant me, in your mercy, a little more time. Love for the earth and love for you are having such a long conversation in my heart. Who knows what will finally happen or where I will be sent, yet already I have given a great many things away, expecting to be told to pack nothing, except the prayers which, with this thirst, I am slowly learning.
Ever-loving Creator, who patiently bears our need to name you,
You taught us how to pray
with light and dark, sky and earth,
with soaring, and swimming, and crawling,
with solitude and partnership.
You showed us how to pray
with the things around us
bread and wine,
friends and those we want to call enemies,
as well as with things we struggle to get our surly minds around
sacrifice and joy,
times that have come and times that are yet to be,
emptiness and resurrection.
Today we might not even have words,
reminded yet again of the violence we do to ourselves
and worried about where we are busy hurling ourselves.
Can you teach us to pray with these, please?
Can you show us how you already have?
Can you help us not to miss it?
Ever-loving Creator, thank you for your patience
and the way you weave it together with impatience.
Help us learn that too. Amen.
(The prose from Mary Oliver is in her newest book Thirst and was first read to me by my spiritual director Joe McCullough at my silent retreat in March. Borrow it from your local library if you want, but don't be surprised if you find yourself wanting to keep her words with you after the due date.)