The Gardner, Peace My Heart [1]

--Rabindranath Tagore

 

Peace, my heart, let the time for departing be sweet. 

Let it not be a death but completeness.

Let love melt into memory and pain into songs. 

Let the flight through the sky end in the folding of the wings over the nest.

Let your last touch of your hands be gentle like the flower of the night.

Stand still, Oh Beautiful End, for a moment, and say your last 

words in silence.

I bow to you and hold up my lamp to light you on your way.

 

Christian mystic, Thomas Merton [2]

            “My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.  But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.  Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”

 

Let Nothing Disturb You [3]

Teresa of Avila

My Day Is Ending

 

Let nothing, O Lord,

disturb the silence of the night.

In this quiet let me begin

to let go of the thousand trivial attachments

upon which I have come to depend,

out of which I have built my life,

and upon which I have rested my hopes.

 

Letting go of what I have come to value

will be painful.

But what greater loss could I know,

what greater blindness,

what greater calamity could there be,

than to make much of what is nothing,

to cling to what has no value?

 

But if I do let go,

I will have you, God.

I will want for nothing.

You alone suffice.

  

The Spiritual Canticle/ St. John of the Cross [4]


Forever at his door


I gave my heart and soul.

My fortune too.


I've no flock any more,


No other work in view.


My occupation: love. It's all I do.

 

Story

A nun, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, anguished and weeping, kept repeating, “My memory is forever lost, forever lost.” Joining her sisters one day in the Ignatian prayer, she surrendered and found peace. “Now my memory will never be lost again.”

Ignatius Loyola, 1491-1556 [5]

Take O Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory,

my understanding, and my entire will, all that I have

and possess.  Thou hast given all to me, to you O God 

I return them.  All are yours.  Dispose of them all

according to your will.

Give me only thy love and thy grace, for this is enough for me.

 

Prayer for God’s Love [6]

Rabbi Rami Shapiro

 

We are loved

by an unending love.

We are embraced

by arms that find us

even when

we are hidden from ourselves.

We are touched

by fingers that soothe us

even when

we are too proud for soothing.

We are counseled

by voices that guided us

even when

we are too embittered to hear.

 

We are loved

by an ending love.

We are supported

by hands that uplift us

even in

the midst of a fall.

 

We are urged on by eyes that meet us

even when

we are too weak for meeting.

 

We are loved by an unending love.

Embraced, touched, soothed, and counseled…

ours are the arms, the fingers, the voices;

ours are the hands, the eyes, the smiles;

we are loved

by an  unending love.

 

Meditation on Healing [7]

Rabbi Naomi Levy

 

When I panic, God, teach me patience.

When I fear, teach me faith.

When I doubt myself, teach me confidence.

When I despair, teach me hope.

When I lose perspective, show me the way—

back to love, back to life, back to You.

 

Hold My Hand [8]

Rabindranath Tagore

 

            Deliver me from my own shadows, O God,

            from the wreck and confusion of my days, for the

            night is dark and Your pilgrim is blinded.

 

            Hold my hand.

 

            Deliver me from despair.

 

            Touch with Your flame the lightless lamp of

              my sorrow.

 

            Waken my tired strength from its sleep.

 

            Do not let me linger behind counting my losses.

 

            Let the road sing to me of the house at every step. 

 

            For the night is dark, and Your pilgrim is blinded.

 

            Hold my hand.

 

 

Prayer of Gratitude [9]

Rosh Hashanah Days of Awe

 

We thank You and tell the tale of Your praise:

Your power in our lives,

Your caring for our souls,

the constant miracle of Your kindness.

 

Morning, noon, and night

We call You Goodness—for your compassion never ends,

We call You Mercy—for your love has no limits;

We call You Hope, now and for all time.

Memory

Rosh Hashanah Days of Awe

 

Our memory fades,

but You remember all that we have forgotten.

 

Your Presence is a throne where all things matter

And nothing is lost.

 

Blessed are you, Adonai

 

God My Hope

Rosh Hashanah Days of Awe

 

And after all shall fade away, 

alone our God of Awe remains;

You were, You are, shall always be; 

Your presence shines; Your glory reigns.

 

My living God, my Rock, my Help,

in times of grief I seek Your face;

my sign of hope, my cup of life—

my prayer reveals Your sheltering place.

 

My soul entrusted to Your care,

both when I sleep and when I rise.

My body, too, will rest in You.

I have no fear—for God is mine.

 

Julian of Norwich, 1342-after 1416 [10]

 

Christian Mystic

 

For unending joy is it that God, our protector here,

Will be our bliss hereafter.

God is our way, our destination in true love

And surest trust.

So let us fly to the Lord,

so that we may be comforted;

touch him so that we might be cleansed;

Cling to him so that we might be safe from every danger…

 

Courteous God,

Be the foundation of my being.

May I sit in you in true rest,

Stand in you in sure strength,

And be rooted in you in endless love.

Reveal yourself more to me

So that I may know my true nature better

And act as I truly am.

Autumn Sonnets (excerpt 2) [11]

May Sarton 1930-1993

 

If I can let you go as trees let go 
Their leaves, so casually, one by one; 
If I can come to know what they do know, 
That fall is the release, the consummation, 
Then fear of time and the uncertain fruit 
Would not distemper the great lucid skies 
This strangest autumn, mellow and acute. 
If I can take the dark with open eyes 
And call it seasonal, not harsh or strange 
(For love itself may need a time of sleep), 
And, treelike, stand unmoved before the change, 
Lose what I lose to keep what I can keep, 
The strong root still alive under the snow, 
Love will endure - if I can let you go. 

 

 

[1] Tagore, Verse 61, 1913

[2] Thoughts in Solitude, Thomas Merton, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1999

[3] Let Nothing Disturb You: Teresa of Avila, John Kirvan, Ave Maria Press,IN 2004

[4] The Poems of St. John of the Cross, Trans. John Frederick Nims, Univ of Chicago Press, 1989

[5] Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyolawww.Jesuit.org

[6] Used by permission of the author

[7] Rabbi Naomi Levy, Talking to God, Doubleday, NY,NY 2003

[8] Tagore, The Heart of God, pp 10, Ed Herbert F. Vetter, Tuttle Pub., Vermont, 1997

[9] Excerpt from Mishkan HaNefesh: Machzor for the Days of Awe, Rosh HaShanah, copyright © 2015 by Central Conference of American Rabbis. Used by permission of Central Conference of American Rabbis, pages 210, 267, 298.  All rights reserved. Not to be distributed, sold or copied without express written permission. Note: These prayers have been categorized into subtitles, Gratitude, Memory & Hope, by Joan Englander.  

 

[10] Julian of Norwich, All Will Be Well, 30 Days with a Great Spiritual Teacher, Notre Dame, Indiana, Ave Maria Press, 2003

[11] May Sarton, A Durable Fire, Autumn Sonnets, pp 43, 2nd section, WW Norton, NY, NY 1972