Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Evening Prayer, by Thomas Merton

Today is Veteran's Day, and I give thanks for my grandfather, a WWII vet, who is in the evening of his life.  He has advanced Alzheimer's disease, and I pray that the night may come in peace. And for all who serve in our military, I pray for safety and wisdom. May all wars cease, may peace reign throughout the earth.

I'm taking a class in Thomas Merton and the Psalms. Today I have been reflecting on some of Merton's poetry in The Collected Poems of Thomas Merton. Here is a lovely prayer that seems especially poignant this Veteran's Day:

EVENING PRAYER (Psalm 140, 141)

Lord, receive my prayer
Sweet as incense smoke
Rising from my heart
Full of care
I lift up my hands
In evening sacrifice
Lord, receive my prayer.

When I meet the man
On my way
When he starts to curse
And threatens me,
Lord, guard my lips
I will not reply
Guide my steps in the night
As I go my way.

Maybe he belongs
To some other Lord
Who is not so wise and good
Maybe that is why those bones
Lie scattered on his road.

When I look to the right and left
No one cares to know
Who I am, where I go.

Hear my prayer
I will trust in you
If they set their traps
On my way
If they aim their guns at me
You will guide my steps
I will pass them by
In the dark
They will never see.

Lord, to you I raise
Wide and bright
Faith-filled eyes
In the night
You are my protection
Bring me home.

And receive my prayer
Sweet as incense smoke
Rising from my heart
Free of care.

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