The past month since the Presidential election has been very challenging for my personal spiritual practice/prayer life. Usually my prayer/meditation has taken the form of a breathing mindfulness practice, where I enter into deep stillness. Because of my emotional upset relating to the political situation in our country right now, this way of praying has not been working because I have been too agitated, with my mind racing. Immediately after the election results were announced, I felt totally emotionally dislocated, was on the verge of tears daily, and could not even call out to God. When my stupor began to lessen in intensity, I attempted to engage the Loving-Kindness meditation practice (holding an image of a difficult relationship in the mind and sending that individual wishes for peace, happiness and freedom), and the Tonglen practice (breathing in a difficult emotion and breathing out peace). I was hoping that I could call up an image of Donald Trump in my mind, and send him love and good will. I also hoped that by sitting with my sorrow and grief in Tonglen, I would be able to ground myself and alchemize my emotions into something more positive. My efforts were met with frustration. I have to be honest and say that I was feeling anger and hatred in my heart. I did not want to send Donald Trump love and compassion. (So much for “progress” in the spiritual life…) I could only feel grief and sorrow for our divided nation. I have been tempted to believe that pure, unredeemable evil exists in the world. I gave myself permission not to try to pray or meditate. All I could do during my usual prayer time was sit and stare out the window. Not praying became my prayer
Then one morning I had the urge to pray the rosary. I have a very special sterling silver rosary that was given to me by my great aunt Sister Gabriel, a Roman Catholic nun, when I was around 10 years old. It hangs on my bedpost as a talisman but I don’t often pray with it. But for some reason I wanted to hold the beads in my hand and pray with them. And so I followed my intuition, picked up the beads, and have been praying with them daily ever since. There is something about holding these beads that grounds me. They connect me to my childhood, to my Roman Catholic upbringing, and to my aunt, with whom I felt a special bond. Praying the rosary also connects me with Mother Mary, who for me is an archetype of the Divine Feminine, as well as with all the common folk throughout history who have had a devotion to praying the rosary, and who have believed in Mary’s intercessory power. However, I’ve put my own personal twist on the prayers that I say. I’ve collected contemporary versions of a creed, the Our Father, Hail Mary, and the Glory Be, and it is these prayers that I use. Praying the ancient rosary with these contemporary words feels meaningful and empowering. It connects me with the tradition of my Catholic roots, but also brings the tradition forward in a way that comes alive for me. Sometimes I totally break from the traditional prayers, and use the rosary as generic prayer beads, reciting other personally meaningful prayers such as the Prayer of St. Francis or the Memorare, or I simply say the names of people in need as my fingers move along the beads. I have always loved silence and wordless prayer, but in the present circumstance I have needed the structure of words to help me stay grounded. This practice is helping me to regain my sense of equilibrium and I am grateful that the invitation to pray this way floated up from my interior.
I’d like to share some of these prayers with you, in the event that they might also speak to your heart. The language in the prayers is universal so they can be spoken by anyone who believes in the Divine in any form .
Creed: This I know: the world will rise through evil and through pain and be born anew in one eternal love, over and over, like the seasons, as often as it takes until creation is the perfect body of God. Nothing is lost. All is present and alive in love. Wrongs are forgiven, and evil can and will be transformed into power for life. Everything created lives forever in the one eternal love. ( Christin Lore Weber, Circle of Mysteries, p. 28)
Our Father: Our Father, Holy Mother, Creator of the Cosmos, Source of Life, You are in my mind, in my garden, in my cup of wine and loaf of bread. Blessed be your names: Mother, Allah, Goddess, Beloved, Father, Radiant One, Yahweh, HaShem, Sophia. Your presence has come, your will is done on earth as it is in the cosmos. My we give each other strength, mercy, tenderness and joy, and forgive each other’s failures, silence, pettiness and forgetfulness, as we ask to be forgiven by those we’ve hurt. Lead us home to ourselves, to You, to clarity, to oneness, and deliver us from the darkness of our ingnorance and fear. So we pray and so we receive. Amen. (Jan Phillips, There Are Burning Bushes Everywhere: Poems and Prayers of a Rebel Mystic, p. 36)
Hail May: Hail Mary, full of grace, Wisdom is with thee. Blessed art thou, and all women, and blessed is the fruit of our wombs: new life – from thought, from word, from seed…all that we create. Holy Mary, Holy Mother, Shekinah, Sophia, come to the aid of your daughters now, in this hour of our dire need, and at the hour of our death. Amen.(My own words)
Glory Be: Glory when we’re stripped of every hope. Glory in our striving all our life and dying distant from our dreams. Glory in the darkest night. Glory in the cave beneath the steepest mountain of the earth. And when we think that even God has died, glory in the faith that cries: I will go on. Amen. (Christin Lore Weber, Circle of Mysteries, p. 139)
What are the prayers of your heart that ground you in this moment?