Prayers in the Grotto

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As I was hiking over the land at Gethsemani Abbey where Thomas Merton was a monk, I came across a small shed with prayers tacked to the wall and ceiling.  I obviously did not expect to find it in the middle of the woods, but I was deeply moved by the heartfelt longings that filled the space.

Prayers in the Grotto

They were not mere verses penned on a whim.

They were not the simple obligation to write something when presented with paper.

They were heartfelt pleas to the universe.  Legitimate questions to the essence and core

of all being.  Not rhetorical, but genuinely and desperately seeking an answer.

They were the same laments that had followed their authors

everywhere they went. 

The inescapable pleas for a sign, for hope, for healing that had not yet found their way home.

These were the cries that had been hurled into the wind that now hung heavily in that grotto

like a dark damp cloth wretchedly in need of sunlight and fresh air to dry and breathe and be.

Their words, our words.

The supplications of those whose God is so near as to seem absent.

The awareness of how a simple “I love you” or “You’re good enough” or “I affirm you” can be

the very voice of God to those who need it.

Curled up pieces of paper and freshly written ones hanging from the walls and ceiling with longing

and expectation that God will actually peer in and read them.

May those prayers find their way out through the cracks

and float freely in the light of a new morning;

finding their way back to the hearts from whose lips they were uttered.

May they be blessed by that light who turns sorrow into joy, sadness into laughter.

– Brandyn Simmons

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One Response to “Prayers in the Grotto”

  1. John Lovestrand Says:

    Theo-poetic and sublime, as is your wont, and your gift.

    I was moved when you offered this as our Call to Being in a recent liturgy.

    Presumably only modesty prevents you from more regularly featuring your own divine words as inspiration in that sacred space.

    May you keep writing, through whatever medium, and may we continue to be inspired!

    Thank you. JL

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