Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Christmas Prayer

I had no intentions of posting here today, but a friend posted the following prayer on Facebook , having shared a status update from New Apologetics. I loved it, and felt the need to share here as well. I hope you had a wonderful day.


A Christmas Prayer (Inspired by St. Thérèse)

My God, I have done little to prepare for Christmas. I have prepared myself poorly for the feast of your birth, and I will celebrate it as poorly. If I say that there is an "ought", I can say also that I have not lived up to it. And now I say I love you.

I do not attempt to reconcile these contraries, for they reconcile only in you. My fallen nature, which loves and desires you so mightily while yet being pressed into the earth, slowly crushed under the weight of failure, unimportance and tragedy, I offer to you as an act of love.

Should I try to burn these sins out of myself, I would only be running away from you; if you do not condemn me, ought I condemn myself? So I must set out to correct myself only by love, being content to fail often and heavily without growing impatient with myself, though the pain and humiliation of failure should consume me. This failure too I offer to you as an act of love.

And even in this I do not expect to succeed, for I know that I shall grow impatient with myself, shall desire my virtues to be greater than they are, shall despair at the sight of the successes of others when I know myself to succeed so little. This I also offer to you as an act of love.

Though you have shown this to me about myself, I should not suppose that I will see it in others however I may desire it and attempt it. I shall see others as below me if they do not meet my standards, and I shall be in fear of those who exceed my capacities. Though I resist it and though even the first movement of thought shall be a torment to me, I know it will happen. I neither excuse it, nor ask (in that way) that it be removed. I only offer it to you as an act of love.

I know also that I will take what is reserved for you, and I will judge myself for my faults. I will determine for myself what needs to be changed, and when; I will set about it diligently, for who can bear to see themselves so bad? In doing so, I will be as a house divided against itself; I will attempt to remove my own speck, for who can see one’s own plank? Yet in addition to all of this, my God, though I may not be able to prevent it happening, I offer myself, as undivided as I know how to give, to You, for Your own judgment. 

So this is my offering to you on this Christmas, my Lord. I offer you all that is distasteful to me in myself, and I desire to bear serenely this trial of being displeasing to myself, though I expect to fail even at that. In my own disfigured person, I offer you the whole of trainwrecked humanity, for we are all alike. I derive my hope only from your love of me, not from my contemplation of my own virtue (which is fortunately lacking, for I would delve into that idolatry were it available to me, and -who knows?- I may be guilty of it already for I do not know myself). I trust only in your passionate love, which I believe transforms my sin into your infinite holiness at every moment, whether or not I feel it.

I therefore come to You this Christmas, my God, with empty hands. If I am not yet grateful for all that has been done for me, I will not be too hard on myself, for I know that it is only because you have not finished giving me what you desire. You will not be outdone in generosity, and when you are through, I am guaranteed to be overwhelmed in it, and the gratitude in which I am so lacking now will pour forth as water and blood from my side, and I will cry out, with You, “it is finished!” And then, my Lord, all shall be well.

2 comments:

  1. Beautiful. I wonder who the author is. Merry Christmas, Nicole.

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  2. Gardenia, I wish I knew! The way it comes across is that it is someone on the staff of New Apologetics that used a prayer of St. Therese's as a base. I tried looking around the Facebook post and on their website with no luck.

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