On Sunday at The Open Table, our Assistant Curator, Wendie Brockhaus, read a beautiful reflection on gratitude. This was read as part of our quarterly Taizé services and we wanted to share this reflection with you. Enjoy, and be thankful!
“Prayer of Acceptance”
By Joyce Rupp and Macrina Wiederkehr
Eternal one who circles the seasons with ease, teach me about Earth’s natural cycle of turning from one season to another. Remind me often of how nature opens herself to the dying and rising rotations, the coming and the going of each of the four seasons. Open me today with gratitude to the teachings of the season of autumn.
When I accept only the beautiful and reject the tattered, torn parts of who I am, when I treat things that are falling apart as my enemies, walk me among the dying leaves, let them tell me about their power to energize Earth’s soil by their decomposition and their formation of enriching humus.
When I fear the loss of my youthfulness and refuse to accept the reality of aging, turn my face to the brilliant colors of autumn trees, open my spirit to the mellow resonance of autumn sunsets and the beauty of the changing land.
When I refuse to wait with the mystery of the unknown, when I struggle to keep control rather than to let life evolve, wrap me in the darkening days of autumn and encourage me to wait patiently for clarity and vision as I live with uncertainty and insecurity.
When I grow tired of using my own harvest of gifts to benefit others, take me to the autumn fields where Earth shares the bounty of summer and allows her lands to surrender their abundance.
When I resist efforts to warm a relationship that has been damaged by my coldness and lack of care, let me feel the first hard freeze of autumn’s breath and see the death it brings to greening, growing things.
When I neglect to care for myself and become totally absorbed in life’s hurried pace, give me courage to slow down as I see how to rest in silent, fallow space. Teach me to Sabbath well.
When I fight the changes of unwanted, unsought events and struggle to keep things just as they are instead of letting go, place me on the wings of traveling birds flying south, willing to leave their nests of comfort as they journey to another destination.
When I fail to say “thank you” and see only what is not, instead of what is, lead me to gather all the big and little aspects of my life that have blessed me with comfort, hope, love, inner healing, strength, beauty, and courage.
Maker of the Seasons, with gratitude we thank you for all that autumn teaches us. Change our focus so that we se not only what we are leaving behind, but also the harvest and the plenitude that our lives hold. May our hearts grow freer and our lives more peaceful as we resonate with, and respond to, the many teachings this season offers to us.
Thanks be to God.
“Prayer of Acceptance,” adapted, from The Circle of Life: The Heart’s Journey through the Seasons, by Joyce Rupp and Macrina Wiederkehr (Notre Dame: Sorin Books, 2005), 175.