October 31, 2009

October The Thirty-First

A Prayer for the Final Harvest

Corn has been shucked,
grain has been threshed,
herbs have been hung to dry.
Grapes have been pressed,
potatoes have been dug,
beans have been shelled and canned.
It is the harvest season,
and food is ready for winter.
We will eat, and we will live,
and we will be grateful.

October 30, 2009

October The Thirtieth

O LORD GOD, Father of mercies, the Fountain of comfort and blessing, of life and peace, of plenty and pardon, who fillest heaven with Thy glory, and earth with Thy goodness; I give Thee the most earnest, and most humble returns of my glad and thankful heart, for Thou hast refreshed me with Thy comforts, and enlarged me with Thy blessing; for, besides the blessings of all mankind, the blessings of nature and the blessings of grace, the support of every minute, and the comforts of every day, Thou hast poured out an excellent expression of Thy loving-kindness upon me.
Thou, Lord, hast made me glad through Thy works; I will rejoice in giving praise for the operations of Thy hands. Blessed be the Lord which only doeth wondrous and gracious things; and blessed be the Name of His Majesty for ever; and all the earth shall be filled with His Majesty - Amen.

-- JEREMY TAYLOR (1613-1667) The Second Engineer smoking a cigarette while standing on deck getting a breath of fresh air. Location, United Kingdom. Taken in 1940 by photographer William Vandivert. Life magazine images.

October 29, 2009

October The Twenty-Ninth

GRANT unto us, Almighty God, that, when our vision fails, and our understanding is darkened; when the ways of life seem hard, and the brightness of life is gone, -- to us grant the wisdom that deepens faith when the sight is dim, and enlarges trust when the understanding is not clear. And whensoever Thy ways in nature or in the soul are hard to be understood, then may our quiet confidence, our patient trust, our loving faith in Thee be great, and as children knowing that they are loved, cared for, guarded, kept, may we with a quiet mind at all times put our trust in the unseen God. So may we face life without fear, and death without fainting; and, whatsoever may be in the life to come, give us confident hope that whatsoever is best for us both here and hereafter is Thy good pleasure, and will be Thy law - Amen.


October 28, 2009

October The Twenty-Eighth


Somehow I've always noticed, and no doubt you've noticed too,
It's a funny world to live in, and no matter what you do
You're criticized by many and there's not a single chance
Of pleasing everybody under any circumstance.

This pleasing game's a dandy, you may try your level best
To satisfy and gratify and meet with every test
That ever yet has been designed and when at last you're through,
You'll find you're always criticized no matter what you do.

For instance, you have seen the man who makes a great success -
And yet he's always criticized and censured more or less;
And then the failure you've observed, he gets it just the same,
He's criticized and ostracized because he lost the game.

And so it kind o' seems to me, the world is rather queer,
You get it if you do or don't the while you're living here;
But at the journey's end there's hope if you can only wait,
For on the day you're laid away they all will say you're great!

-- Frank Cableton Nelson

October 27, 2009

October The Twenty-Seventh

Hindu: Prayer for the Unity of All Life
MAY the winds, the oceans, the herbs, and night and days, the mother earth, the father heaven, all vegetation, the sun, be all sweet to us.
Let us follow the path of goodness for all times, like the sun and the moon moving eternally in the sky.
Let us be charitable to one another. Let us not kill or be violent with one another.
Let us know and appreciate the points of view of others. And let us unite.
May the God who is friendly, benevolent, all-encompassing, measurer of everything, the sovereign, the lord of speech, may He shower His blessings on us ....
Oh Lord, remove my indiscretion and arrogance, control my mind. Put an end to the snare of endless desires. Broaden the sphere of compassion and help me to cross the ocean of existence.

October 26, 2009

October The Twenty-Sixth

SHOW Thy mercy to me, O Lord, to glad my heart withal. Let me find Thee, for whom I long. Lo, here the man that was caught of thieves, wounded, and left for half dead, as he was going towards Jericho. Thou kind-hearted Samaritan, take me up. I am the sheep that is gone astray; O Good Shepherd, seek me out, and bring me home to Thy fold again. Deal favorably with me according to Thy good pleasure, that I may dwell in Thy house all the days of my life, and praise Thee for ever and ever with them that are there - Amen.

-- ST. JEROME, TRANSLATED A.D. 1578 - TIME cover 12-27-1971, The Good Samaritan re: volunteerism, charity and public service. Photo taken December 27, 1971, by photographer Leandro Velasco.

October 25, 2009

October The Twenty-Fifth

O THOU Hope of all holy and humble men of heart, and the Saviour of them that trust in Thee in time of trouble, give us not over as captives, in spiritual chains; but recover us, that we may awake to do Thy will. Lord, Thou knowest all our desire, and our secret sighing is not hidden from Thee. Into Thy hands I commend my soul and my prayer; give what Thou seest fit, and fit us for what Thou givest. Give us wisdom to abound, or patience to suffer need; and where the Master placed us, there to be content. Let all our work be done well before we come to die; and let us be gathered into Thine arms, as the harvesters gather a shock in full season. Let our death be happy; and our happiness beyond the power of death - Amen.

-- ROWLAND WILLIAMS (words in bold type by blog author) Life magazine archive image of a mother and her sleeping child taken by unknown Victorian photographer in 1855

October The Twenty-Fifth

O THOU who art the all pervading glory of the world, we bless Thee for the power of beauty to gladden our hearts. We praise Thee for our brothers, the masters of form and color and sound, who have power to unlock for us the vaster spaces of emotion, and to lead us by their hand into the reaches of nobler passions. We rejoice in their gifts, and pray Thee to save them from the temptations which beset their powers. Kindle in their hearts a passionate pity for the joyless lives of the people, and make them rejoice if they are found worthy to hold the cup of beauty to lips that are athirst. Make them the reverent interpreters of God to man, - who see Thy face and hear Thy voice in all things, that so they may unveil for us the beauties of nature which we have passed unseeing, and the sadness and sweetness of humanity to which our selfishness has made us blind - Amen.


October The Twenty-Fourth

O LORD, we beseech Thee mercifully to hear our prayers, and stretch forth the right hand of Thy power against all things that fight against us; through Jesus Christ our Lord - Amen.


October 23, 2009

October The Twenty-Third

OH, teach us to know Thee, our God, and enable us to do Thy will as we ought to do. Give us hearts to love Thee, to trust and delight in Thee, and to adhere and cleave in faithfulness unto Thee; that no temptations may draw us, nor any tribulations drive us, from Thee; but that all Thy dispensations to us, and all Thy dealings with us, may be the messengers of Thy love to our souls, to bring us still nearer to Thy blessed self, and to make us fitter for Thy heavenly kingdom - Amen.

-- BENJAMIN JENKS (1646-1724)
Sheep brought to church to teach young children about God's love for all creatures. Taken in Rochester, NY, U.S., October 1955, by photographer Lisa Larsen. Life magazine archives.

October 22, 2009

October The Twenty-Second

This day I awoke and thanked the healing power of sleep for the ability to awake fresh and ready for another day.
Now I am ready for another night of rest. Let me wake again tomorrow, facing a day of contributions to others, but ready for another bout of work and the satisfaction it brings.

October 21, 2009

October The Twenty-First

O LORD, who hast mercy upon all, take away from me my sins, and mercifully kindle in me the fire of Thy Holy Spirit. Take away from me the heart of stone, and give me a heart of flesh, a heart to love and adore Thee (my neighbor), a heart to delight in Thee (my neighbor), to follow and to enjoy Thee (my neighbor), for Christ's sake - Amen.

-- ST. AMBROSE (340-397) In parentheses are the blog author's additions.

October 20, 2009

October The Twentieth

I cannot conceive of a personal God who would directly influence the actions of individuals, or who would directly sit in judgment of creatures of his own creation.
I cannot do this in spite of the fact that mechanistic causality has, to a certain extent, been placed in doubt by modern science.
My religiosity consists in a humble admiration in the infinitely superior spirit that reveals itself in the little that we, with our weak and transitory understanding, can comprehend of reality.
Morality is of the highest importance - but for us, not for God.


October 19, 2009

October The Nineteenth

SOFTEN our hearts, O Lord, that we may be moved no less at the necessities and griefs of our neighbors than if they concerned ourselves, or the cases that touched us nearest, and let us think them to befall even to our dearest friends. Let us pity them as ourselves, and, in their adversity, let us have compassion upon them, that, as we would have pitied ourselves for the like cause, so we may be moved with pity towards those whom we see oppressed with the same adversities - Amen.


October 18, 2009

October The Eighteenth

O GOD, whose eternal Providence has embarked our souls in the ship of our bodies, not to expect any port of anchorage on the sea of this world, but to steer through it to Thy glorious kingdom, preserve us, O Lord, from the dangers that on all sides assault us, and keep our affections still fitly disposed to receive Thy holy inspirations; that, being carried sweetly and strongly forward by Thy Holy Spirit, we may happily arrive at last in the haven where we would be; through Jesus Christ our Lord - Amen.


October 17, 2009

October The Seventeenth

ALMIGHTY Father, who neither slumberest nor sleepest, we humbly pray Thee to watch over us this night with the eyes of Thy mercy, and over all who are near and dear to us. Grant us quiet and refreshing sleep such as may fit us for the duties of the morrow. Put far away from us all worldly cares and earthy fears, and give us holy thoughts of Thee, that we may repose in perfect peace in the everlasting arms of Thy fatherly love; and, whether we wake or sleep, may live together with Him who died and rose again for us, Thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord - Amen.


October The Sixteenth

O LORD, lift up the light of Thy countenance upon us; let Thy peace rule in our hearts; and may it be our strength and our song, in the house of our pilgrimage. We commit ourselves to Thy care and keeping this day; let Thy grace be mighty in us, and sufficient for us, and let it work in us both to will and to do of Thine own good pleasure, and grant us strength for all the duties of the day. Keep us from sin; give us the rule over our own spirits; and keep us from speaking unadvisedly with our lips. May we live together in peace and holy love, and do Thou command Thy blessing upon us, even life for evermore. Prepare us for all the events of the day; for we know not what a day may bring forth. Give us grace to deny ourselves; to take up our cross daily, and to follow in the steps of our Lord and Master - Amen.

-- MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714)

October 15, 2009

October The Fifteenth

THOU Brightness of eternal glory, Thou Comfort of the pilgrim soul, with Thee is my tongue without voice, and my very silence speaketh unto Thee. Come, Oh, come; for without Thee I shall have no joyful day or hour; for Thou art my joy, and without Thee my table is empty. Praise and glory be unto Thee; let my mouth, my soul, and all creatures together, praise and bless Thee - Amen.

Photo by Al Fenn, 1956, Independenc, Mo., Lane Harold and Ruth Elsner on their wedding day.

October 14, 2009

October The Fourteenth

O MERCIFUL Father, to whose house of many mansions Thy child shall one day approach alone, by lying down to sleep, let Thy renewing hands be upon me, and Thy loving eyes behold me as I go to sleep this night. Thou who givest Thy beloved sleep, grant that I may rest at peace with Thee, and with all Thy creatures. Renew my body, and cleanse my heart and soul by Thy creative power, and grant that the morning light may make me rejoice alike in rendering new service to Thee, and in being one day nearer to the vision of Thy face; for His sake who died for us and rose again, Jesus Christ our Lord - Amen.

Comedian Ed Wynn, as King Bubbles, asleep with a candle in his ear. August 1944 photograph by Nina Leen. Life magazine archives.

October 13, 2009

October The Thirteenth

Tell Any Child

tell any child who runs you in the spring
under the froth of buds,
dreams on you under the summer sky or in
the emerald cave of hemlock,
who scuffs your autumn drifts of roadside color,
and flies with flying flakes across your breast -
Earth, tell any child
that you are his forever, that he is
the happy owner of a tilting world,
of blossoms by the bushel-basket, tons
of leaves, cloud-shadow-miles, sun, rain, and snow.
Tell him, Earth,
that he has deed and title
to beauty by the acre
anywhere he breathes!

-- Frances Frost
Photo by Allan Grant, 1953, Life magazine archives

October 12, 2009

October The Twelfth

BLESSED are all Thy saints, my God and King, who have travelled over the tempestuous sea of mortality, and have at last made the desired port of peace and felicity. Oh, cast a gracious eye upon us who are still in our dangerous voyage. Remember and succor us in our distress, and think on them that lie exposed to the rough storms of troubles and temptations. Strengthen our weakness, that we may do valiantly in this spiritual war; help us against our own negligence and cowardice, and defend us from the treachery of our unfaithful hearts. We are exceeding frail, and indisposed to every virtuous and gallant undertaking. Grant, O Lord, that we may bring our vessel safe to shore, unto our desired haven - Amen.

-- ST. AUGUSTINE (354-430)
A costume presented in a fashion show expressing elegance and arrogance, and moreover a fashion statement for future women who will be overcivilized and need a crutch for moral and spiritual support; revealed in the Chicago Tribune. Location: Chicago, Illinois, U.S. Taken October 1945 by photographer Frank Scherschel. Life magazine archives.

October 11, 2009

October The Eleventh

OUR Father, grant us, this day, the sense of Thy presence to cheer, and Thy light to direct us, and give us strength for Thy service. And yet more, Father, give us Thine own help and blessing in our sorrows, our faintness, our failure and sin. Thou knowest that we cannot bear our burdens alone. We are only little children, and the world seems very dark to us, and our path very hard, if we are alone. But we are Thy little children; and so we know we can come to our Father, to ask Thee to help us, and enliven us, and strengthen us, and give us hope. We are not ashamed of our tears, for our Lord has wept with us. We do not ask Thee to take away our sorrow, for He was made perfect through suffering; but we do ask Thee to be with us as Thou wert with Him, our Father, close to Thy little ones, even as He has promised us - Amen.


October The Tenth

HELP me to resolve, in Thy strength, that I will take willingly and sweet-temperedly, as part of Thy loving discipline, all that may come to me today of pain or annoyance, or crossing of my will, or doing without - Amen.


October The Ninth

ALMIGHTY God, comfort us by Thy fullness. Our strength is but weakness, our knowledge is but small, our life but passing away. By Thine eternal wisdom, by Thine unshaken power, Thy constant years, Thine unfailing love, uphold and comfort us, that we, ever feeling that our little lives are altogether in Thee, may look forward to the ending of this mortal life without fear, longing for and hoping for an entrance into that large abundant life where Thou shalt be all in all - Amen.


October The Eighth

MOST loving Lord, give me a childlike love of Thee, which may cast out all fear - Amen.


October 10, 2009

October The Seventh

COME, O Lord, in much mercy down into my soul, and take possession and dwell there; a homely mansion, I confess, for so glorious a Majesty, but such as Thou art fitting up for the reception of Thee, by holy and fervent desires of Thine own inspiring. Enter than, and adorn, and make it such as Thou canst inhabit, since it is the work of Thy hands. Give me Thine own self, without which, though Thou shouldst give me all that ever Thou hast made, yet could not my desires be satisfied. Let my soul ever seek Thee, and let me persist in seeking, till I have found, and am in full possession, of Thee - Amen.

-- ST AUGUSTINE (354-430)

October 8, 2009

October The Sixth

Dear One,
Roy Lichtenstein painted this "Image Duplicator." I have been writing prayers and reading them as I type and wondering where my year of praying will get me.
Will it get me to trust in the Lord with all my heart and all my being?
Will I allow myself to believe there is someone waiting with all the answers at the end of my life?
Will I believe in Eternal Life and my reward in heaven?
Will I come to realize that our heaven is being of use here on earth to our fellow man? I am coming closer and closer to believing this is true. What can I do to be you here on earth? - the blog author

October The Fifth

O ETERNAL God, who hast created me to do the work of God after the manner of men, and to serve Thee in this generation, and according to my capacities; give me Thy grace that I may be a prudent spender of my time, so as I may best prevent or resist all temptation, and be profitable to the Christian commonwealth; and, by discharging all my duty, may glorify Thy name. Take from me all slothfulness, and give me a diligent and an active spirit, and wisdom to choose my employment; that I may do works proportionable to my person, and to the dignity of a Christian, and may fill up all the spaces of my time with actions of religion and charity; improving my talent entrusted to me by Thee, my Lord, that I may enter into the joy of the Lord, to partake of Thy eternal felicities, even for Thy mercy's sake - Amen.

-- JEREMY TAYLOR (1613-1667)
Blond model in long dress with bandana motif standing near workman. Taken in 1938 by photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt. Life magazine image.

October The Fourth

WE beseech Thee, O Lord, that Thou wouldest keep our tongues from evil, and our lips from speaking guile; that, as Thy holy angels ever sing Thy praises in heaven, so with our tongues we may at all times glorify Thee on earth - Amen.


October The Third

OH, send Thy light and Thy truth, that I may live always near to Thee, my God. Oh, let me feel Thy love, that I may be, as it were, already in heaven, that I may do all my work as the angles do theirs; and, oh, let me be ready for every work, be ready to go out or go in, to stay or depart, just as Thou shalt appoint. Lord, let me have no will of my own; nor consider my true happiness as depending, in the smallest degree, on anything that can befall me outwardly, but as consisting altogether in conformity to Thy will - Amen.

-- HENRY MARTYN (1781-1812)

October 7, 2009

October The Second

ETERNAL and unchangeable God, in whom alone we find rest for our weariness and comfort for our sorrow, and from whom alone cometh all true joy, keep our hearts, we beseech Thee, ever fixed on Thee through life and death, waiting patiently for that glorious day when we shall rejoice in the fullness of Thy love for evermore - Amen.

Battle-weary soldier, a member of Merrill's Marauders, pausing with a cigarette during Burma campaign in WW II. Location, Myanmar; taken 1944 by photographer Bernard Hoffman. Life magazine archives.

October The First

BE THOU, O God, a Refuge from the storm, and a Shadow from the heat. Even whilst we are lying safely in Thine arms, we are sometimes foolishly timid. Oh, help our unbelief, and, in Thy tenderness, assure us of Thy protection. Thou canst make all things work together for good to them that love Thee. Let not calamity injure our souls; let not sorrow corrode our hearts - Amen.


October 5, 2009

September The Thirtieth

MOST gracious God, to know and love whose will is righteousness, enlighten our souls with the brightness of Thy presence, that we may both know Thy will, and be enabled to perform it - Amen.


September The Twenty-Ninth

O THOU, who art the life of all that lives, the strength of the weak, and the hope of those that be cast down, inform our minds with Thy truth, we beseech Thee, and enlarge our hearts with righteousness; strengthen our wills that they may choose the good, and refuse the evil; help us to bear each other's burdens, to forgive one another's faults, and to forbear with every defect of judgment and of temper in those with whom we live, and who daily help us. Grant this through Jesus Christ our Lord - Amen.


October 2, 2009

September The Twenty-Eighth

O LORD, of Thy tender love, prepare Thou Thyself a place for Thyself in my heart. Empty my heart of every feeling, thought, emotion, desire, purpose, anxiety, hope, fear, which may interfere with Thy love. Open my whole heart to receive Thee; let nothing shut Thee out, nothing be shut to Thee. Thou alone canst fit my heart for Thyself; cleanse it wholly by Thy Spirit, that it may wholly love Thee, be wholly filled with Thee, wholly penetrated, enlightened, warmed, by Thee, that Thou mayest dwell in it forever, and it may love Thee with Thine own love in it everlastingly - Amen.

Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt, taken in 1938 on road between Atlanta and Charlotte, N.C.

October 1, 2009

September The Twenty-Seventh

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, the Source of all being and life, whose mercies are infinite, and whose love is unceasing; to Thee we commend all souls departed, praying Thee to cleanse them from every taint and trace of sin, that in the communion of saints they may find the joy and peace of a perfect life; through the all-sufficient merits of our only Redeemer, Jesus Christ - Amen.