Traditional – and Unconventional – Prayers for the Season

Traditional – and Unconventional – Prayers for the Season

Traditional - and Unconventional

[I am posting here both Fra Giovanni Giocondo’s beautiful Christmas letter (1513), my traditional offering for this season, and a new very contemporary psalm – plea for “the radiance and glory in darkness, hearts watered with light, could we but see.” Both part of the larger truths of this human journey.]

[Fra Giovanni Giocondo (c.1435–1515) was a Renaissance pioneer, accomplished as an architect, engineer, antiquary, archaeologist, classical scholar, and Franciscan friar. Today we remember him most for his reassuring letter to Countess Allagia Aldobrandeschi on Christmas Eve, 1513, a perennial favorite in these weekly quotes.]

I salute you. I am your friend, and my love for you goes deep.  There is nothing I can give you which you have not. But there is much, very much, that, while I cannot give it, you can take. No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today. Take heaven! No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instant.

Take peace! The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy. There is radiance and glory in darkness, could we but see.  And to see, we have only to look. I beseech you to look!

Life is so generous a giver. But we, judging its gifts by their covering, cast them away as ugly or heavy or hard. Remove the covering, and you will find beneath it a living splendor, woven of love by wisdom, with power. Welcome it, grasp it, and you touch the angel’s hand that brings it to you.

Everything we call a trial, a sorrow or a duty, believe me, that angel’s hand is there. The gift is there and the wonder of an overshadowing presence. Your joys, too, be not content with them as joys. They, too, conceal diviner gifts.

Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty beneath its covering, that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven. Courage then to claim it; that is all! But courage you have, and the knowledge that we are pilgrims together, wending through unknown country home.
– Fra Giovanni Giocondo

* * * * *

Advent Lament Psalm

Mother of us all,
our hearts are like burned landscapes
pleading for water

We are dry, helpless
not knowing how to birth you
in this dark hate place

Yet, in times like this
our ancestors called on you
and You guided them

The people in fear
fractured within and without
and You came to them

Shine into us now
make our land fertile again
hearts watered with Light
Pregnant with the light
– Ruah Bull

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