Sunday, January 20, 2013

Pray for us, Saint Agnes!

I write on the eve of the feast of St. Agnes, a day of celebration for my community. We have a prayer that over these months has carried me in a variety of ways and I would like to share it here (with a short reflection to follow):

what I long coveted,
I already see;
what I hoped for 
I now hold safe.
To God alone I am
associated in heaven,
Whom on earth I loved
with all devotedness.

Pray for us,
Saint Agnes,
that we may be made 
worthy of the 
promises of Christ.

Let us pray:
Almighty and eternal God,
who choose the weak
of the world to
confound the strong,
mercifully grant that we,
who are placed under the 
patronage of your
virgin and martyer Agnes,
may feel the benefit of
her intercession with you.
Through Christ our Lord.

Tonight as I write the words that most resonate are "To God alone I am associated in heaven, Whom on earth I loved with all devotedness." Sometimes, this is a difficult part of my prayer as I get caught-up in the smallness of worrying about what everyone else thinks about me and what I am doing (or not doing for that matter). When I am in the struggle of what others think it is a good reminder for me to recognize that living for another's pleasure will leave me empty in the end. I am distracted by other things as well, and wonder whether I am convinced that I love God "with all devotedness." My desire is to say, "Yes, of course I do." However, my behaviors at times are not in concert with these lines from the prayer. I can become absorbed in the temporal and, at times it seems I completely forget God is part of this journey at all. Why else would I be concerned about what others are thinking, or how I am being judged by my peers? The prayer to St. Agnes allows me to live in the tension between my limitation and potential. This prayer calls me back to my own humanity in the sense that through both limitation and potential love is ever-present. The difficulty continues in coming to know this, with the responsibility of living it out with authenticity and integrity.

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