Glimpes of My Life in Pictures

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sesaon of Epiphany (Theophany)

Christ, the Coal of Fire, descended and bathed in the waters of the river. Christ, the Burning Flame, is immersed in the waters. The fiery beings stood in awe at the immersion of Christ, that Flame. His pure body is washed to purify those who are not. Alleluia! Alleluia! Praise to him!

The waves of the river mingled with Christ, the Light. He set the river aflame with his brightness. The clouds gathered from end to end, they stood over the bed of water, which became the bridal bed for the baptism of Christ, the Bridegroom. Alleluia! Alleluia! Praise to him!

Glory to the Father, who by his voice witnessed to his only begotten: adoration to the Son, who to please him received baptism from the son of the barren ones: thanksgiving to the Holy Spirit, who in the likeness of a dove, came upon him and hovered over him in order to sanctify all. Alleluia! Alleluia! Praise to him!

Almighty God and Savior Jesus Christ: you are the merciful One. You inclined your everlasting mercy toward us to give salvation to our weak and feeble race. For our sake, you became flesh of the holy Virgin Mary. From the Magi and shepherds, you received mystical and royal gifts. You grew in wisdom and perfection. And though you were the fountain of holiness, you were baptized in the Jordan river by your forerunner, John, so that by your baptism water would be mad holy to bring us to a new birth. Therefore, O Christ our God, we beseech and implore you through this incense which we offer on this festive and holy day. We intercede with you, Lord Jesus Christ, for you are the great abyss filled with unspeakable mysteries, and you have enlightened all creation with the bright and blessed rays of your divinity. You are God who was seen in the flesh, and we of the flesh were transformed by the gifts of the Spirit. O Lord, we ask and implore you: grant pardon of debts and forgiveness of sins to all your flock on this day of your Epiphany. You are God, One in essence, who was seen at the Jordan River through the unspeakable mysteries of your Holy Trinity. From the heights the Father declared and said to us: "This is my belove Son." O God the Word, one person of the Holy Trinity, by your holy baptism you have shown us the Trinity's light. We beseech and ask you, O God of all: be pleased with us on this feast day and accept these petitions and the adoration of your flock, which we offer you with the fragrance of this incense. Comfort us with the protection and fullness of your holy, life-giving commandments. May our lives, actions, and all our undertakings be to the glory of your love for all people and for the absolution and salvation of our souls. May we be worthy of the resting place of your saints and be led to the paradise of light with your righteous. May we be worthy to hear the voice that says: "Come, blessed of my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you before the foundation of the world." We ask this, O Christ, through the intercession of all your saints, now and for ever. Amen.

Prayer of a Franciscan Friar

Lord, my whole being longs for You. My mind desires Your peace, my heart desires the warmth of Your presence and my body aches for Your nearness and the intimacy that lovers share. But Lord, prayer has become so difficult. Silence seems so empty, words seem so dull and my mind seems distracted by many things. Yet more than anything my heart feels weighed down by fears, doubts and anxieties. I feel, Lord, as if You have left me and I am now all alone in this world, a stranger in a place I once called home.

Lord, I long for prayer, silence and solitude where I can just be alone with You. I feel tired with everything right now and need to rest in You. The more I try and pray the more it seems like I am not praying. The more I try to seek You, Lord, the more You seem to go away from me. Lord, I want to live in Your light but my feet seem paralyzed and unable to move towards You. Please Lord, draw me more deeply into that light, into that ocean of peace that is Your heart. I long for the time where I can just rest in You, when all of my doubts and fears will be silenced and I can just sleep in Your arms like a child with his mother.

Yet I must believe that I already possess that intimacy with You, even though I feel like I am in darkness. I choose to believe that You are not far away. I believe that You are close, too close even for my senses to perceive You. Please Lord, do not allow the darkness to overcome me. Without Your grace I cannot face it, but with Your grace I can rest in it and even say, “this too shall pass.”

Where could I go anyway if You were not here. I could not find You on my own nor could I discover something more profound or more beautiful than You. Lord, I could not discover You without You because You have discovered me, You have found me, You have revealed Yourself to me!

Yet so many people have come and gone in my life. So many friends have captured my heart and then have moved on, taking my heart with them. Lord, I can’t help but fear that You too will leave someday? My heart trembles at the thought of another separation. I know it is silly to compare You with people and to even doubt Your commitment to me is a sign that I do not understand Your love for me.

Despite all my confusion I can hear Your whisperings in my heart telling me that I am loved and that You will never abandon me. My God, I trust You with the little strength and energy I feel that I have. Thank You, Lord, for being faithful; please, in Your mercy grant me the grace to be faithful to You.

Br. Jeremiah Myriam Shryock, CFR
St. Leopold Friary
Yonkers, New York