Tuesday, 22 December 2009

The most significant insignificant thing I do

Some years ago when preparing for a big congress, working long hours and not always getting to the end or even the beginning of my to do list, sitting in meetings, feeling stressed ... I remember saying to a friend as we met to sing Holden Evening Prayer at the end of the day that possibly praying was the only useful thing I had done all day.
Of course prayer is not work, the old motto goes ora et labora, pray and work. Yet often contemplatives will say that work is prayerful. Could prayer then be work?
Anyway, this week, last week, all through Advent and any day of the year probably the most significant thing I have done is pray. Before God I have remembered individuals, people in distress or joy, experiences and situations distant from my own, sometimes all I have offered was silence or tears, other times my heart has sung. I'm not very good at praying, not very regular or disciplined. I don't find it easy to pray for my enemies, or even to pray for my friends. My praying is pretty insignificant, and yet ... and yet.

Christ stands before me
and peace is in his mind.
Sleep, O sleep
in the calm of all calm.
Sleep, O sleep
in the love of all loves.
Sleep I this night
in the God of all life.

From Each Day and Each Night Celtic Prayers from Iona J. Philip Newell