A prayer as we enter Lent

DSCN4380Jesus, as we prepare to enter Lent this week, my mind wanders back to the man who wrote a theology text and then rewrote the whole thing as prayer; it had seemed to him all wrong to talk about you as though you weren’t right there listening to the conversation, initiating it, allowing us to know you at all.
You are one who stands at the threshold, calling us into this journey with you.
You are the one who invites us to come closer, to lay our head on your chest, our ear pressed up tight against the deep thrum thrum of your heartbeat.
You are the one in whom our journey ends.
We speak of Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday as though we know the whole story. We know it only a little bit. We need to know it again, to live it more deeply, to walk through it hand in hand with you. We need you to point out the details and show us how our stories mingle with and flow from yours.
Teach us, we pray, what it means to be human.
Shape in us your heart’s love-beat.
Satisfy our longing, and help us long more deeply still.
Mighty God made one of us, love us closer to you as we walk these weeks together toward death and then on through death into life that can never be broken.


Taking it further: For some wonderfully practical thoughts on how to cooperate with God as he uses this season of Lent to help shape in us his heartbeat of love, check out Kasey Kimball’s article, Freedom to Love: The Heart of Lent

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Paula

    Who was the theologian who wrote the text, then wrote it again? Would really like to know. Thank you.

    1. hearingtheheartbeat

      Thanks for asking, Paula! The story impacted me deeply during one of my theology or church history classes. Unfortunately I’m better at remembering stories than names, so I’m doing some digging and hopefully I’ll be able to post an answer for you here soon.

      1. hearingtheheartbeat

        Hi again Paula. With some help from my church history and philosophy friends, here’s the answer!
        Saint Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109) first wrote the longer Monologion (“Monologue”) trying to show that anyone should be able to convince themselves of the existence of God by reason alone. He then wrote the Proslogion (“Discourse”), again concerned with the “proof” of God, but this time written as an extended prayer, and approaching the question from the perspective of faith seeking understanding. It’s pretty heavy-going philosophy, but the prayer is beautiful—I’m glad you sent me looking! Here are a couple of examples:
        “Teach me to seek you, and reveal yourself to me, when I seek you, for I cannot seek you, except you teach me, nor find you, except you reveal yourself. Let me seek you in longing, let me long for you in seeking; let me find you in love, and love you in finding. Lord, I acknowledge and I thank you that you has created me in this your image, in order that I may be mindful of you, may conceive of you, and love you; but that image has been so consumed and wasted away by vices, and obscured by the smoke of wrong-doing, that it cannot achieve that for which it was made, except you renew it, and create it anew. I do not endeavor, O Lord, to penetrate your sublimity, for in no wise do I compare my understanding with that; but I long to understand in some degree your truth, which my heart believes and loves. For I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.” (from chapter 1 of the Prologion – http://legacy.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/anselm-proslogium.asp)
        And here’s another from Anselm’s “Meditation on Human Redemption”: “I pray you, Lord, make me taste by love what I taste by knowledge; let me know by love what I know by understanding. I owe you more than my whole self, but I have no more, and by myself I cannot render the whole of it to you. Draw me to you, Lord, in the fullness of love. I am wholly yours by creation; make me all yours, too, in love.” (In “The Prayers and Meditations of Saint Anselm,” translated Benedicta Ward (New York: Penguin, 1973), p. 237.

  2. Marilynne Brager

    Thank you Carolyn. Your words resound and refresh.

  3. Paula

    Thank you so much! Really appreciate all the time you put into this — and I will use it too!

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