The Nun’s Prayer

I do not do religion, but I can be inspired by spiritual things from time to time. Many years ago, I was driving to work and the “God slot” came on the radio. The speaker quoted a prayer which had been written by a nun in the 17th Century. They were musing on the fact that it seemed just as relevant to modern life.

I agreed …

This was some years before the Internet was readily available and, to get a transcript of the prayer, I needed to write to the BBC, who responded by sending me a copy. Such things seem so much simpler nowadays.

I reread it recently and thought that it would be nice to share:

Thou knowest better than I know myself,
that I am growing older and will some day be old.
Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every
subject and on every occasion.
Release me from craving to straighten out everybody’s affairs.
Make me thoughtful but not moody;
helpful but not bossy.
With my vast store of wisdom, it seems a pity not to use it all,
but Thou knowest, Lord,
that I want a few friends at the end.
Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details;
give me wings to get to the point.
Seal my lips on my aches and pains.
They are increasing,
and love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by.
I dare not ask for grace enough to enjoy the tales of others’ pains,
but help me endure them with patience.
I dare not ask for improved memory,
but for a growing humility,
and a lessening cocksureness
when my memory seems to clash with the memory of others.
Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken.
Keep me reasonably sweet.
I do not want to be a saint
(some of them are hard to live with)
but a sour old person is one of the crowning works of the devil.
Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places
and talents in unexpected people.
And give me, O Lord,
the grace to tell them so.

I can readily identify with many of these sentiments, as I am sure anyone past the first flush of youth could agree. I find the last four lines most inspiring of all.

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