Monday, December 2, 2013

Devotion for today: I have no voice, except an inner cry…

I was talking to a friend last week who is going through a really rough time. She told me that the glitz and glamour of this commercial holiday season makes her feel terrible, like there is something wrong with her. Her sadness is deep, and real. She finds herself believing the lie that everyone is walking around beaming and laughing and going to a million parties all bedecked in gorgeous clothes, walking into gorgeously decorated homes. Holiday madness makes her so sad. She wants to feel happy, yet she cannot. Many of us have times like these. The holly jolly season gets lost on those of us who have children deployed or wounded by war, spouses who have lost their jobs, loved ones who have died, illnesses and wounds (mental and physical) that keep us weak and frustrated, and a host of other sad events that strip us of any desire to trim a tree and tie a bow. What can we do? It is tough. To tell someone to pray is, of course, the best answer, but to know how deep the sadness runs, we need a prayer that speaks to really deep sadness, sadness this commercial Christmas season may bring to a head. Commercial Christmas, you ask? Yes, this, for us Catholics, is Advent, a solemn time of year when we meditate on the second coming of Christ, when we clean our personal homes of the heart and soul and mind for a renewed love of all things that belong to God, and when we wait for the time when He will be among us forever. The secular world is celebrating Christmas now because they have no idea why they are even celebrating. We begin on the 25th, the birth of Christ, because our reason for joy will then enter our lives.  But for now, for those whose hurt is so deep, here is a prayer I found in the November issue of the Magnificat (  Let us pray daily for those of us who are suffering at this time. (We will return to our meditation on The Lord’s Prayer tomorrow.)

Matthew 26:38: Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.”

Persecution and Perseverance
Lord Jesus, I am struck dumb,
inside and outside.
My heart is shrouded by this misery;
my eyes, which look upon your holy face, are stricken, assaulted by the light,
aching red, longing to be shut beneath their lids.

I have no voice
except an inner cry,
a mute, distressed animal whimper
that cannot even summon itself to ask for mercy.
My fingers drift
away from my hands,
and the tokens of your love
are beyond their reach.

How do I pray?
O Lord, where is the longing of my prayer?
Jesus, Mercy,
hear the scream inside
the shaken contours of this skull,
with brain pierced
by some fiery blade.

O God, Love!
Hear the endless noise,
the pounding,
the howling of skin and nerve,
muscle and joint;
this cacophony of pain
that groans all through the place
where I once felt that I had a body.

Jesus, Mercy, forgive me.
Jesus, Love.
Jesus, I offer.

I long for these to be my words to you,
but lips are speechless quiver,
and thought and heart are frozen in exhaustion.
Prayer is ice that does not flow.
Prayer is a voice of distant memory;
it feels like a still corpse
beneath my soul’s total turmoil.

In the end there is nothing
but the hollowness of a thing called me
wanting You.

I want You, Jesus.
                                                John Janaro

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