Susan’s Thanksgiving Note – November 25, 2020
Scottish Blessing and Carthusian Prayer from 12th Century
I’m going to send an evening note before Thanksgiving this year. I’m working on this tonight and have these prayers and thoughts in my mind as I lay down. Some of you may read late this evening or during the dark hours of the night and possibly find comfort if I send early.
Below is a prayer written in the 12th century by a Carthusian monk, Guigo, whose writings are on contemplation and his words are easy to read and quick to enter the soul. He writes on our daily lives consisting of four rings on a ladder. Reading; meditation; prayer; contemplation. “A ladder of four rungs by which we may well climb to heaven. It is a marvelously tall ladder, but with just four rungs, the one end standing on the ground, at the other thrilling into the clouds and showing the climber heavenly secrets.” (http://www.umilta.net/ladder.html – Link to the writings of the monk, Guigo & his writings on the ladder to heaven.)
His prayer below is one of the most beautiful prayers I have ever read. One to print by hand and place with other treasures. Following this prayer is a Scottish blessing. A blessing to help us to enter this holiday season.
Lord, how much juice you can squeeze from a single grape.
How much water you can draw from a single well.
How great a fire you can kindle from a tiny spark.
How great a tree you can grow from a tiny seed.
My soul is so dry that by itself it cannot pray;
Yet you can squeeze from it the juice of a thousand prayers.
My soul is so parched that by itself it cannot love;
yet you can draw from it boundless love for you and for my neighbor.
My soul is so cold that by itself it has no joy;
Yet you can light the fire of heavenly joy within me.
My soul is so feeble that by itself it has no faith;
Yet by your power my faith grows to a great height.
Thank you for prayer, for love, for joy, for faith;
Let me always be prayerful, loving, joyful, faithful.
Guigo the Carthusian, 12th Century
May the blessing of light be on you – light without and light within.
May the blessed sunlight shine on you like a great peat fire,
so that stranger and friend may come and warm himself at it.
And may light shine out of the two eyes of you,
like a candle set in the window of a house,
bidding the wanderer come in out of the storm.
And may the blessing of the rain be on you,
may it beat upon your Spirit and wash it fair and clean,
and leave there a shining pool where the blue and Heaven shines,
and sometimes a star.
And may the blessing of the earth be on you,
soft under your feet as you pass along the roads,
soft under you as you lie out on it, tired at the end of day;
and may it rest easy over you when, at last, you lie out under it.
May it rest so lightly over you that your soul may be out from under it quickly; up
and off and on its way to God.
And now may the Lord bless you, and bless you kindly. Amen.
Silence. The few moments closing this day to collect our thoughts. A few moments to reflect on how fast the moments are passing and to consciously make an effort to notice the grains as they pass through our sand timer. Tonight. Tonight we have been handed our stone. Our stone to carve words for our epitaph. The words for the moments we will never have back. Do we have words worthy of inscription? Did we stop our incessant busyness to help someone find their own beauty in their day? Did we pour extra cream for our little cats? Did we notice the hands of who we love? The little chubby ones. The almost an adult and still a child hands that fly so quickly past. The hands of who we love? The hands of an older friend who is always hoping we stop to hold them? The hands of those we cannot be with – hold those hands in our minds? Beauty in something so small. Something so beautiful. Did we notice the eyes? Did we look behind the eyes? Details. Beautiful details. Details which make the moments given to us count.
Thank you for letting me enter your almost Thursday again this week and for coming to our store for your gifts. We will be ready to welcome you into our world with a smile. Have a beautiful Thanksgiving. Looking to the heavens for your peace. The peace that passes the understanding of any around you is promised. Our morning angel will be waiting to show us that the smallest grains of sand passing by can be beautiful. Susan
Latin for this week –
solum Deum prae oculis habentes – having only God before your eyes
a caelo usque ad centrum – from heaven all the way to the center of the earth
laetitia – joy, happiness
benigno numine – By the favor of the heavens. (Horace)
caelitus mihi vires – My strength is from heaven.
Tene quod habes – Hold what you have.