Act Of Hope And Confidence In God
The Serenity Prayer
Finding Blessedness In One's Own History

Letting Go Of Someone Dear To Me
Mary's Song -- The Magnificat
When The Road Ahead Is In Darkness

On Suffering
A Prayer Of Abandonment
Before The One Who Is Mystery

As I Move Towards Blessed Surrender
At The Beginning Of The Day
From the writings of Juliana of Norwich

           Transition experiences of mid-life take place at any point between one's twenties and one's forties or beyond. The prayers contained on this page represent some of the inner work that everyone is called to go through on this part of the inner journey.

          From this inner work there can result a deep acceptance of one's creaturely life in the context of God's dream for the world. In this process a sense of mystery emerges as the events and things of life become symbols which may reveal the deeper mysteries of one's heart (Heb 4:14).

          The Serenity Prayer is definitely a mid-life prayer because, as usual in mid-life, things are perceived to have become so different than we imagined years earlier. Since there are often moments of pain and darkness in these mid-life experiences, the prayer, When The Road Ahead Is In Darkness, and the reading On Suffering will be apt. During this time we are also called to let go of the control we exercise in many of our precious relationships. For this, Letting Go  may be of help. Then as we become more and more aware of the expanding universe, Before The One Who Is Mystery may capture the new places in which we find ourselves.

          When we reflect upon our history from the viewpoint of God's dream for the world, we often experience the gift of gratitude as in Mary's Song or as in the reflections of Finding Blessedness In One's Own History.

Act Of Hope And Confidence In God

My God, I believe most firmly
that you watch over all who hope in you,
and that we can want for nothing
when we rely upon you in all things.
Therefore I am resolved for the future ... to cast all my cares upon you
People may deprive me of possessions and status.
Sickness may take my strength from me. I may even jeopardize our
relationship by sin; but my trust shall never leave me.
I will preserve it to the last moment of my life,
and the powers of hell shall seek in vain to grab it from me.
Let others seek happiness in their wealth and in their talents.
Let them trust in the purity of their lives,
in the number of their activities, in the intensity of their prayer;
as for me, my confidence in you fills me with hope.
You are my divine protector. In you alone do I hope.
I am assured, therefore, of my eternal happiness,
for I firmly hope in it and all my hope is in you.
"In you, O Loving God, have I hoped: let me never be confounded."
I know too well that I am weak and changeable.
I know the power of temptation against the strongest virtue.
I have seen stars fall and foundations of my world crack.
These things do not alarm me.
While I hope in you, I am sheltered from all misfortune,
and I am sure that my trust shall endure,
for I rely upon you to sustain this unfailing hope.
Finally, I know that my confidence cannot exceed your generosity,
and that I shall never receive less than I have hoped for from you.
Therefore I hope that you will sustain me against the ways
in which I deceive myself.
I hope that you will protect me against the deceitful attacks
of the evil one. I hope you will cause my weakness
to triumph over every hostile force.
I hope that you will never cease to love me
and that I shall love you unceasingly.
"In you, O God, I have hoped, let me never be confounded."

-- adapted from the prayer of Claude de la Colombiere

The Serenity Prayer

O God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change...
courage to change the things I can...
and wisdom to know the difference.

Help me to live one day at a time,
to enjoy one moment at a time,
to accept hardships as the pathway to peace.

May I learn from Jesus
to take this broken world as it is ...
and not as I would have it.

Give me the grace to trust that you will make all things right
if I embrace your desires for myself and my sisters and brothers.

May I be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with you forever in the next.

-- adapted from the prayer of Reinhold Neibuhr

Finding Blessedness In One's Own History

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve.
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health, that I might do greater things.
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.
I asked for riches, that I might be happy.
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of others.
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life.
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I hoped for.
Almost despite myself my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am most richly blessed.

-- by Henry Viscardi

Letting Go
To a dear one about whom I have been concerned.

I behold the Christ in you.
I place you lovingly in the care of the All Caring One.
I release you from my anxiety and concern.
I let go of my possessive hold on you.
I am willing to free you to follow the dictates of
          the indwelling Spirit.
I am willing to free you to live your life according to your best light and
Husband, wife, child, friend,
I no longer try to force my ideas on you, my ways on you.
I lift my thoughts above you, above the personal level.
I see you as God sees you,
          a spiritual being,
          created in God's image,
          endowed with qualities and abilities that make you needed and 
          important not only to me but to God and God's larger perspective.
I do not bind you.
I no longer believe that you do not have
          the understanding you need in order to meet life.
I bless you
I have faith in you,
I behold Jesus in you.

-- from the late Herve Marcoux, OMI

Mary's Song -- The Magnificat

My soul glorifies you my God,
My spirit rejoices in you my Saviour!
For you have blessed me lavishly
and make me ready to respond.
You shatter my little world
and let me be poor before you.
You take from me all my plans
and give me more than I can hope for or ask.
You give me opportunities and the ability
to become free and to burst through my boundaries.
You give me strength to be daring,
to build on you alone,
for you show yourself
as the ever greater One in my life.
You have made known to me this ----
It is in my being servant that it becomes possible
for your realm to break through here and now.

-- adapted by Olga Worenski, IBVM

When The Road Ahead Is In Darkness

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 that 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 will never leave me to face my perils alone.

-- by Thomas Merton

On Suffering

        When suffering comes to put the question, "Who are you?" we must be able to answer distinctly and give our own name. By that I mean we must express the very depth of what we have desired to be and what we are becoming. And if we are becoming what we are supposed to become the interrogation of suffering will call forth from us both our name and the name of Jesus.

-- adapted from Thomas Merton

A Prayer Of Abandonment

O God you are both Mother and Father,
You are more than I can imagine,
I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me what you will.
Whatever happens in my life
I desire to discover you through it
I thank you for whatever will be
Let only your will be done in me,
and in all your creatures ...
I wish no more than this.
Into your hands I commend my soul.
I offer myself to you with all my heart.
I love you, my God.
I desire to surrender myself into your hands
without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,
For you are my God and my all.

-- adapted from Charles de Foucauld
             (italicized lines are my adaptation)

Before The One Who Is Mystery

Holy One, Mystery, Caring God ....
Now I know that you are always greater than anything I can think or imagine, and for this I am most grateful.
I am glad that I can not locate you, define you, describe you. I used to worry about self-identity, about who I was. 
Now I am glad not to know, 
and I can thank you for the mystery of my being....
I do not know how much longer I shall live,
nor what shall become of me.
I do not know if the way I am trying to live now really is your will.
You have shown me something of the depths of self-deception
that are in me, and I may still be deceiving myself.
But what I do know is that you are the God of every situation,
God in our darkness drawing us to light,
God in our sinfulness offering us healing,
God in our self-deception leading us into truth, 
God who is for us, even when we are against ourselves.
So I know that even if I am unwittingly deceiving myself, if I follow what truth there is in me, then you will draw me further into your truth, and that there is no situation, no state, no place I can reach 
where you will not still be closer to me than I am to myself.

-- adapted from Gerard W. Hughes in "God, Where Are You?"
(Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd.,1997) p.269f.

As I Move Towards Blessed Surrender

When the signs of age begin the mark my body .... and still more
when they touch my mind....
When the ill that is to diminish me or carry me off
strikes from without or is born within me....
When the painful moment comes
in which I suddenly awaken to the fact
that I am ill or growing old....
At that moment when I feel I am losing hold of myself 
and am absolutely passive within the hands of the great unknown forces that have formed me....
In all those dark moments, Loving God, grant that I may understand that it is you ... who are painfully parting the fibres of my being in order to penetrate to the very marrow of my substance
and bear me away within yourself.
The more deeply and incurably that evil is encrusted in my flesh, the more it will be you that I am harbouring --

you as a loving, active principle of purification, and detachment.

The more the future opens before me like some dizzy abyss or dark tunnel, the more confident I may be of losing myself and surrendering myself in you, of being assimilated in your body ....
Holy One, you are the irresistible and life-giving force....
You are the Stronger One....
It is on you that falls the part of consuming me
in a union that can weld us together.
It would be a blessing to die while actually receiving the body and blood of Christ in holy communion....
But I ask for something more precious -- the grace to welcome death itself as an act of communion with you.

-- adapted and based on a prayer from Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.

At The Beginning Of The Day

O God, I find myself at the beginning of another day,
I do not know what it will bring,
Please help me to be ready for whatever it may be.
If I am to stand up, help me to stand bravely.
If I am to sit still, help me to sit quietly.
If I am to lie low, help me to do it patiently
If I am to do nothing, let me do it gallantly.
I pray just for today, for these twenty-four hours,
for the ability to cooperate with others
according to the way Jesus taught us to live.
"Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven."
May these words that he taught us become more than words.
Please free my thinking and feelings
and the thinking and feelings of others,
from all forms of self-will,
--- self-centredness, dishonesty, and deception.

Along with my brothers and sisters, I need this freedom
to make my choices today according to your desires.

Send your Spirit to inspire us in time of doubt and indecision so that, together, we can walk along your path. ..... Amen.

-- adapted with thanks from an unknown source.

From the writings of Juliana of Norwich ................

        He showed me a little thing, the size of a hazelnut, in the palm of my hand, and it was round as a ball. I looked at it with my mind's eye and I thought, "What can this be?" And the answer came, "It is all that is made." I marvelled that it could last for I thought it might have crumbled to nothing, it was so small. And the answer came into my mind, "It lasts and ever shall because God loves it." And all things have being through the love of God. In this little thing I saw three truths. The first is that God made it. The second is that God loves it. The third is that God looks after it.

        There is a great deed which the beloved Trinity shall do at the last day, as I see it, and what that deed shall be and how it shall be done is unknown to all creatures below Christ. And it shall be hidden until it is done. This is the great deed ordained by our Lord since before time began, treasured and hidden in his blessed breast, known only to him ... [through whom God] ... shall make all things well. For just as the Blessed Trinity made all things out of nothing, so the same Blessed Trinity shall make good all that is not well.

-- from the writings of Juliana of Norwich

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