Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday: Prayer offerings

Besides all the normal encouragements you are likely to receive today to attend Mass, to fast, to pray, and to give alms, I thought I'd share a few gems from the saints as we begin the Lenten journey.

A recent article of mine advocated this prayer from St. Nicholas Flue, a 15th century patron of Switzerland:

My Lord and my God, take from me everything that distances me from you.
My Lord and my God, give me everything that brings me closer to you.
My Lord and my God, detach me from myself to give my all to you.

- St. Nicolas Flue

And I have long prayed the following prayer from St. Anselm, a 12th century Doctor of the Church from Canterbury, England. This reminds us that God is never finished with us, and that we can be remade anew as we travel through Lent.
O Lord my God,
teach my heart this day where and how to see you,
where and how to find you.

You have made me and remade me,
and you have bestowed on me
all the good things I possess,
and still I do not know you.
I have not yet done that
for which I was made.

Teach me to seek you,
for I cannot seek you
unless you teach me,
or find you
unless you show yourself to me.  

Let me seek you in my desire.
Let me desire you in my seeking.
Let me find you by loving you,
Let me love you when I find you.
- St Anselm 

Amen and amen.

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