Most every morning before breakfast I go for a short walk on the spacious grounds of Manresa Retreat Centre, Pickering, Ontario. One morning as I was walking I thought about the spiritual exercise of faith sharing and then the thought occurred to me why not prayer sharing. As I begin to write this blog it is the morning of my 85th birthday and I thought of sharing some of my prayers on my spiritual journey.
In the winter of 1973 I did my tertianship (last months of Jesuit formation) at Colombiere Center, Clarkston, Michigan. Again for the second time in Jesuit formation I did the 30 Day Spiritual Exercises ( the Long Retreat) of Saint Ignatius. Toward the end of that retreat my spiritual director suggested that I might want to compose a prayer that I might find helpful in my years as a Jesuit. I am delighted to share this prayer with you. And yes, the prayer has been helpful.
“May the Lord have mercy on me, forgive me of any wrongdoing, give me his joy, grace, peace and healing and bring me one day with him to our Father in heaven.”
Here at Manresa not only are our grounds spacious but we are surrounded by Valley Farm Ravine and to our west we have Grand Valley Park. The West Duffins Creek meanders through the ravine. Over the years our neighbours have made several ungroomed trails through the forests of the ravine and park. These trails are an invitation to praying with nature. It is a prayer without words. You just have to be aware/surprised of the handiwork of the Divine Landscape Architect and it costs you nothing. You do not have to pray awe, wonder, reverence, praise and thanksgiving. Your walk in nature is awe, wonder, reverence, praise and thanksgiving.
Before coming to Manresa in June of 2017, I would often attend the Sunday Eucharist at the Anglican Church of the Redeemer in Toronto at Bloor St. and Avenue Rd. The Lead Pastor and Incumbent was the Rev’d Andrew Asbil. He would always begin his Homily with the prayer, “Take our lips and speak through them. Take our minds and think through them. Take our hearts and fill them with love for you. In Christ many names we pray.” I was very attracted to this prayer and have made it my own. I have modified it slightly by adding, “Take my hands and feet and care with them.”
A favourite post communion prayer, “Lord, I want and chose that You live in me and I live in You today and forevermore.” Another, “Lord, this is my faith and my hope that if I live with You, I will die with You and if I die with You I will also rise with You.”
I have surprised myself and finished this blog on the evening of my birthday. As God has given me the gift of 85 years, I want to give you the gift of my prayers. As they have helped me in my spiritual journey, I hope and pray that they may be helpful in your spiritual journey too.