July 31, 2009

July The Thirty-First

O FATHER of mercies and God of all comfort, our only help in time of need, I come to Thee for help to meet the trials of advancing years. Give me courage and patience to bear the infirmities, privations, and loneliness of old age. Help me to fight successfully its temptations to be exacting, selfish, unreasonable, irritable, and complaining.
Preserve my mental faculties unimpaired to the end, keep my heart and affections warm, so that I may never fail tu sympathize with the joys, sorrows and interests of others, and to be deeply grateful for the love and forbearance of those around me. And so fit and prepare me against the hour of death that I may be able to face it fearlessly, trusting in Thy promise to be with me as I pass through the dark valley, so that, departing in peace, my soul may be received into Thy everlasting Kingdome, through Jesus Christ, my Lord and Saviour - Amen.


July 30, 2009

July The Thirtieth

THANK you for second and third chances. This day is a blessing. This hour is a gift. This minute is heaven.

-- by the blog author

July 29, 2009

July The Twenty-Ninth

LET the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.


Miss Charity Witness reading Father Divine's transcribed words to the guests at a location near Philadelphia, Pa., U.S. Taken September 1953 by photographer Peter Stackpole.

July 28, 2009

July The Twenty-Eighth

O GOD, who never sleepest, and art never weary, have mercy upon those who shall pass this night in pain and sorrow or sin. Comfort the mourners, sustain the dying, give rest to the departed, pity the sin-laden and the guilty; look upon the faint-hearted that they may hope again, on the light-hearted lest they forget Thee, on the tempted lest they fall beneath temptation; and keep us all in safety under the shadow of Thy wing; for Jesus Christ's sake - Amen.


Photo from Life magazine archives:
Pfc. Faris M. "Bob" Tuohy, 19, holding coffee cup &, along with his fellow Marines, looking grimy and weary from 2 days and 2 nights of fighting on Eniwetok Atoll during WW II.
Location: Marshall Islands, 1944, photographer, Ray R. Platnick.

July 27, 2009

July The Twenty-Seventh

WE give Thee hearty thanks for the rest of the past night, and for the gift of a new day, with its opportunities of pleasing Thee. Grant that we may so pass its hours in the perfect freedom of Thy service that, at even tide, we may again give thanks unto Thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord - Amen.


July 26, 2009

July The Twenty-Sixth

Navagraha Stotram
1. Sung in Chorus:
Namah Sooryaya Chandraya
Mangalaya Budhayacha
Guru Shukra Shani Bruhas Cha
Raahave Ketave Namaha
Salutations to the navagrahaas, the Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Rahu, and Ketu.
2. Ravi
Japaa Kusuma Sankasham
Kaashya Peyam Maha Dyutim
Tamo Arim Sarva Paapagh Nam
Pranatosmi Divaa Karam
I pray to the Sun, the day-maker, destroyer of all sins, the enemy of darkness, of great brilliance, the descendent of Kaashyapa, the one who shines like the japaa flower.
3. Chandra
Dadhi Shankha Tusha Raabham
Kshiiro Dhaarnava Sambhavam
Namaami Shashinam Somam
Shambor Mukuta Bhushanam
I pray to the Moon, who shines coolly like curds or a white shell, who arose from the ocean of milk, who has a hare on him, Soma, who is the ornament of Shiva’s hair.
4. Kuja
Dharani Garbha Sambhuutam
Vidyut Kanti Samaprabham
Kumaram Shakti Hastam Cha
Mangalam Prana Maa Myaham
I pray to Mars, born of Earth, who shines with the same brilliance as lightning, the young man who carries a spear.
5. Budha
Priyangu Kalikaa Shyamam
Rupenaa Pratimam Budham
Sowmyam Sowmya Guno Petam
Tam Budham Prana Maa Myaham
I pray to Mercury, dark like the bud of millet, of unequalled beauty, gentle and agreeable.
6. Guru
Devanaam Cha Rishii Namcha
Gurum Kanchana Sannibham
Buddhi Bhuutam Trilo Kesham
Tam Namami Bruha Spatim
I pray to Jupiter, the teacher of gods and rishis, intellect incarnate, lord of the three worlds.
7. Shukra
Hima Kunda Mruna Labham
Daityanam Paramam Gurum
Sarva Shastra Pravak Taram
Bhar Gavam Prana Maa Myaham
I pray to Venus, the utimate preceptor of demons, promulgator of all learning, he who shines like the fiber of snow-white jasmine.
8. Shani
Neelaan Jana Sama Bhasam
Ravi Putram Yama Grajam
Chhaya Martanda Sambhutam
Tam Namaami Shanaish Charam
I pray to Saturn, the slow moving, born of Shade and Sun, the elder brother of Yama, the offspring of Sun, he who has the appearance of black collyrium.
9. Rahu
Ardha Kaayam Mahaa Viiryan
Chandraa Ditya Vimar Dhanam
Sinhi Kaa Garbha Sambhutam
Tam Rahum Prana Maa Myaham
I pray to Rahu, having half a body, of great bravery, the eclipser of the Moon and the Sun, born of Simhikaa.
10. Ketu
Palasha Pushpa Sankaasham
Taarakaa Graha Mastakam
Rowdram Rowdraat Makam Ghoram
Tam Ketum Prana Maa Myaham
I pray to Ketu, who has the appearance of Palaasha flower, the head of stars and planets, fierce and terrifying.
11. Sung in Chorus
Iti Vyaasa Mukhodgiitam Yah Pateth Susa Maahitah
Divaa Vaa Yadi Vaa Raatrau Vighna Shaantir Bhavishhyati
Those who read the song sung by Vyaasa, will be joyous, sovereign and powerful, and will succeed in appeasing obstacles, occurring by day or by night.
12. Sung in Chorus
Iti Shrii Vyaasa Virachitam Navagraha Stotram Sampoornam
Thus ends the song of praise of the nine planets composed by Shri Vyaasa muni.

Lotus flower photo by Bahman Farzad.

July 25, 2009

July The Twenty-Fifth

by Richard Wilbur

THE good grey guardians of art
Patrol the halls on spongy shoes,
Impartially protective, though,
Perhaps suspicious of Toulouse.

Here dozes one against the wall,
Disposed upon a funeral chair.
A Degas dancer pirouettes
Upon the parting of his hair.

See how she spins! The grace is there,
But strain as well is plain to see.
Degas loved the two together:
Beauty joined to energy.

Edgar Degas purchased once
A fine El Greco, which he kept
Against the wall beside his bed
To hang his pants on while he slept.

July 24, 2009

July The Twenty-Fourth

The Hollow in the Stone

NOT every kind of water will do
to make the pool under the rock face
that afterward will be clear forever

not the loud current of great event
already far downstream in its moment
heavy with the dark waste of cities
not the water of falling
with its voice far away from it
not the water that ran with the days
and runs with them now

only the still water
that we can see through all the way
whatever we remember
the clear water from before
that was there under the reflections
of the leaves in spring and beyond
and under the clouds passing below them

Composer Eden Ahbez enjoying a swim in nature's outdoor pool of water.
Photo taken April 1948 by Peter Stackpole.
Life magazine archives.

July 23, 2009

July The Twenty-Third

THE love of our hearts, dear Lord,
Goes to Thee this day.

We are little children, wearied with play,
Who have slept for a while in their mother's arms,
Then awaking, glad and refreshed,
Clasp her, caress here, knowing once more
The clasp, the caress of her love.

Thus, even thus, in our weakness,
Do we turn unto Thee, with childlike trust,
For the day's benediction of love - Amen.


Life magazine photo taken in 1951

July 22, 2009

July The Twenty-Second

ANOTHER chance to do something over,
And will it be a wise decision?
If I could ask for help, without someone having to bear the responsibility for my choosing the wrong "next step"
I would do so.
This, however, is something I alone can decide.

Shall I? Shall I not?
What will I lose?
What will I gain?
What is right and what is wrong?

I will listen to the little voice inside me that makes
The decisions
And trust that it will not lead me astray.
I will pray that the forces that be
Are leading me to a path that will twist and bend as I want.

Are there ever only wrong decisions, or only the decisions we were supposed to make?

-- by the blog author

July 21, 2009

July The Twenty-First

O THOU Almighty Helper and ever-present God, we bring to Thee all our needs. O Thou Author of all good, from whom cometh every good and perfect gift, may Thy mercies be our daily song, and may the light of Thy countenance in this world of power and beauty move our hearts to great thankfulness and a sweet trust. Day by day Thou dost appoint our portion, especially revealing Thy glory in the dear Son of Thy love, and calling us into His Kingdom of service and blessedness. May this be our love of Thee in Him, that we love one another and keep all His commandments - Amen.


Photo of fog drenched London streets by Tony Linck, 1947, Life magazine archives.

July 20, 2009

July The Twentieth

O ALMIGHTY God, grant, we beseech Thee, that we, whose trust is under the shadow of Thy wings, may, through the help of Thy power, overcome all evils that rise up against us - Amen.


Photo by Cornell Capa, September 1946

July 19, 2009

July The Nineteenth

O MOST glorious God! relieve my spirit with Thy graciousness; take from me all tediousness of spirit, and give me a hope that shall not fail, a desire of holiness not to be satisfied till it possesses a charity that will always increase; that I may turn all things into religion, doing all to Thy glory; that, when Thou shalt call me from this deliciousness of employment, I may pass into the employments of saints and angels; whose work it is, with ternal joy and thanksgiving, to sing praises unto Thy mercies - Amen.

-- JEREMY TALOR (1513-1667)
Head of an Angel, by Leonardo Da Vinci, photograph taken in 1901.

July 18, 2009

July The Eighteenth

ETERNAL God, Maker of all creatures, Thou fathomless Abyss of loving kindness, suffer now the light of Thy countenance to rise upon us! Shine into our hearts, O Thou true Sun of righteousness, and fill our souls with Thy beauty. Direct according to Thy will the work of our hands, and lead us in the right way to do that which is pleasing in Thy sight; so that through us, unworthy though we be, Thy holy Name may be glorified, to whom be praise, honor and glory for ever and ever - Amen.

-- ST. BASIL (A.D. 330-379)
Photo of St. Basil's Cathedral, Moscow, Russia, May 1958, by Howard Sochurek

July 17, 2009

July The Seventeenth

O GOD, the eternal Light, the Splendor of the stars, the Clearness of the night; the Enlightener of the darkness, grant us to pass this night in security and peace; and, if we have this day contracted any stain of sin, do Thou, the Pitiful and Merciful, forgive; hear our prayers, and grant our requests; through Jesus Christ our Savior - Amen.


This photo is by W. Eugene Smith, from Life magazine, hosted by Google.

July 16, 2009

July The Sixteenth

THE Lord be my keeper, the Lord be my Defence upon my right hand. The Lord preserve me from all evil, yes, the Lord keep my soul. The Lord preserve my going out, and my coming in, from this time forth for evermore.
O Lord! Thou knowest, Thou are able, Thou art willing, to do good to my soul; I neither know how, nor am able, nor, as I ought, willing to do it.
Do Thou, O Lord, I beseech Thee, in Thine unspeakable loving kindness, so order and dispose of me as Thou knowest to be best pleasing to Thee, and most expedient for me.
Thine are goodness, grace, love, kindness, O Thou Lover of men! gentleness, tenderness, forbearance, long-suffering, manifold mercies, great mercies, abundant tender compassions. Glory be to Thee, O Lord - Amen.

-- LANCELOT ANDREWES (1555-1626)

July 15, 2009

July The Fifteenth

FOR Peter, who's not 40 any more:

Lines On The Poet's Turning Forty

And so, at last, I am turning forty,
In just a couple of days.
The big four-oh.
Yes, that is soon to be my age.
(And not fifty-eight. No way. That Wikipedia is a bunch of liars.)
Nope, no any other age, just forty.
What other age could someone born in 1969 (and not 1951)
Possibly be?
(And please do not listen to my ex-wife, that sad, bitter woman in her late fifties.)
What does it feel like, old bones?
Yes, I have lost a step or two in the hundred-metre dash.
I accept these changes.
But if a guy says in a published poem that he is forty,
As I am doing here,
It's obvious that must be the age that he is,

Cattail down blows from the swamp like smoke,
Ice bares its teeth on the surface of the mud puddles.
It is fall -- but not for me in any metaphorical sense,
Because forty, while not technically all that young, is hardly like "the autumn of life" or anything;
And also because Natalie Portman, the famous actress,
Is in love with me. And why not?
After all, there is not that much difference, age-wise,
Between a person who I guess is in her mid-to-late twenties
And a person who is only just turning forty,
I.e, me.

(There's more, by Ian Frazier, but I'll have to stop for now. See the whole poem in the May 18, 2009, New Yorker magazine) This may not qualify as a prayer, but it's a meditation! Photo from Life magazine of Pablo Casals, cellist, in Puerto Rico in 1966, celebrating his birthday.

July 14, 2009

July The Fourteenth

THOU has deigned to show pity on me, and a ray from Thy light hath shone upon mine inward eye. Guide me on into the perfect light, that it may illumine me wholly, and that all darkness may flee away.

-- a portion of ST. AUGUSTINE (354-430)

July 13, 2009

July The Thirteenth

O GOD, who art the unsearchable abyss of peace, the ineffable sea of love, the fountain of blessings, and the bestower of affection, who sendest peace to those that receive it; open to us this day the sea of Thy love, nad water us with plenteous streams from the riches of Thy grace. Make us children of quietness, and heirs of peace. Enkindle in us the fire of Thy love; strengthen our weakness by Thy power; bind us closely to Thee and to each other in one firm and indissoluble bond of unity - Amen.


July 12, 2009

July The Twelfth

O LORD, our heavenly Father, who orderest all things for our eternal good, mercifully enlighten our minds, and give us a firm and abiding trust in Thy love and care. Silence our murmurings, quiet our fears, and dispel our doubts, that, rising above our afflictions and our anxieties, we may rest on Thee, the Rock of everlasting strength - Amen.


July 11, 2009

July The Eleventh

LEAD me with all your powers to do good in the right places at the right times.
Let the words that need to be said come from my lips
And the actions that give the right consequences, let them be the ones I perform.
Call into being the highest powers within me to be patient, loving and generous.

-- by the blog author

July 10, 2009

July The Tenth

NOW, Talking God,
With your feet I walk
I walk with your limbs
I carry forth your body
For me your mind thinks
Your voice speaks for me
Beauty is before me
And beauty is behind me
Above and below hovers the beautiful
I am surrounded by it
I am immersed in it
In my youth I am aware of it
And in old age I shall walk quietly
The beautiful trail.

--Native American Prayer

July 9, 2009

July The Ninth

O LORD, make me love every token of Thy will, for love of Thee, and make me cheerful under every cross; take from me all which displeases Thee, or hinders Thy love in me, that I may deeply love Thee. Melt me with Thy love, that I may be all love, and with my whole being love Thee - Amen.


Photo of Straits of Messina

July 8, 2009

July The Eighth

BE THOU, O Lord, our protection, who art our redemption; direct our minds by Thy gracious presence, and watch over our paths with guiding love; that, among the snares which lie hidden in this path wherein we walk, we may so pass onward with hearts fixed on Thee, that, by the track of faith, we may come to be where Thou wouldest have us -- Amen.


July 7, 2009

July The Seventh

ETERNAL and most glorious God, suffer me not so to undervalue myself as to give away my soul, Thy soul, Thy dear and precious soul, for nothing; and all the world is nothing, if the soul must be given for it.
Preserve therefore, my soul, O Lord, because it belongs to Thee, and preserve my body because it belongs to my soul. Thou alone dost steer my boat through all its voyage, but hast a more especial care of it, when it comes to a narrow current, or to a dangerous fall of waters. Thou hast a care of the preservation of my body in all the ways of my life; but, in the straits of death, open Thine eyes wider, and enlarge Thy Providence towards me so far that no illness or agony may shake and benumb the soul.
Do Thou so make my bed in all my sickness that, being used to Thy hand, I may be content with any bed of Thy making -- Amen.

-- JOHN DONNE (1573-1631)

July 6, 2009

July The Sixth

O MERCIFUL Lord, enlighten Thou me with a clear shining inward light, and remove away all darkness from the habitation of my heart. Repress Thou my many wandering thoughts, and break in pieces those temptations which violently assault me. Fight Thou for me, and vanquish the evil beasts; that so peace may be obtained by Thy power, and that Thine abundant praise may resound in Thy holy court, that is, in a pure conscience. Send out Thy light and Thy truth, that they may shine upon the earth; for, until Thou enlighten me, I am but as earth without form and void. Lift Thou up my mind which is pressed down by a load of sins, for no created thing can give full comfort and rest to my desires. Join Thou me to Thyself with an inseparable band of love; for Thou even alone dost satisfy him that loveth Thee - Amen.


July 5, 2009

July The Fifth

O GOD, who are, and wast, and art to come, before whose face the generations rise and pass away; find that of Thy faithfulness there is no end. Our fathers in their pilgrimage walked by Thy guidance, and rested on Thy compassion; still to their children be Thou the cloud by day, the fire by night. In our manifold temptations, Thou alone knowest and art ever nigh: in sorrow, Thy pity revives the fainting souls in our prosperity and ease, it is Thy Spirit only that can wean us from our pride and keep us low. O Thou sole Source of peace and righteousness! take now the veil from every heart; and join us in one communion with Thy prophets and saints who have trusted in Thee, and were not ashamed. Not of our worthiness, but of Thy tender mercy, hear our prayer - Amen.


July 4, 2009

July The Fourth

WE GIVE thanks to those who raised a voice or arms and offered their lives for the freedoms we enjoy today.
Freedom to worship or not worship, freedom to speak and write our opinions, freedom to travel where and when we want, freedom to love who we want, freedom to go about our lives.
Let us never forget those who sacrificed everything -- the young men and women who left their homes and families not knowing if they would ever see them again -- for a cause greater than themselves.
Today, if you get the chance, take a moment to thank a service man or woman in uniform. Offer a moment of quiet contemplation. A prayer to thank them for what they have given us.

-- by the blog author

July 3, 2009

July The Third

ON A DAY like today I bless what there is and do not long for things I can not possess.
The garden in the morning, the flowers to admire, the scent of the lilies perfuming the air, the magnolia on the tree -- its rich white velvet petals holding an aroma so sweet I can carry it with me throughout the winter -- all these things are meat and bread to me.
I can bend and weed and walk and gather and I am thankful for the powers my body gives me.
The leaves overhead to shade my brow and plentiful water with which to encourage the flowers to flourish. All these things I bless and am thankful for.

-- By the blog author

July 2, 2009

July The Second

O MY LORD, in Thine arms I am safe; keep me, and I have nothing to fear; give me up and I have nothing to hope for. I know nothing about the future, but I rely upon Thee. I pray Thee to give me what is good for me. I leave it all to Thee, because Thou knowest and I do not. If Thou bringest pain or sorrow on me, give me grace to bear it well; keep me from fretfulness and selfishness.
If Thou givest me health and strength and success in this world, keep me ever on my guard lest these great gifts carry me away from Thee. Give me to know Thee, to believe on Thee, to love Thee, to serve Thee, to live to and for Thee. Give me to die just at that time and in that way which is most for Thy glory - Amen.

Remember: Out of Iraq in 2009, but not without over 4,000 American deaths.

July 1, 2009

July The First

MY FATHER, grant me rest for body and soul, now the day is past. Forgive all that I have done amiss since the morning; the actual sin, the carless word, the false shame which prevented my checking wrong in others. Lord, Thou knowest the weakness of my heart. Teach me to know myself better. If it please Thee to raise me up again another day, let me, by Thy grace, devote my life more entirely to Thee, not shrinking from social duties, but in them glorifying Thy holy name. - Amen.


Moslem Mosques
Moslem worshippers asleep after their noonday prayers in the beautiful Jumma Mosque, Old Delhi, India. Taken in August 1946 by photographer Margaret Bourke-White.