night prayer

The stars in their soft August beauty emerge from both the black velvet sky and the charcoal fur of smoke from the forest fires that has settled along the horizon. There is a “light pollution” ordinance in this small mountain town forbidding porch lights and such in the neighborhoods, and so even the Milky Way is visible. It is 10:30 p.m. The mountains rise from the smoke like the creamy shoulders of a sleeping giant, visible against the sky. I stop in front of a long canyon field that, by day, is gold with ripening grain and flows back between the mountains. By night it is a rustling presence. An intimation of openness. The mountains loom up, the stars populate the sky, and I stand in a sea of night-sounds.

For MF and JL, MP, Mssr. R., SR & MR, MS … I know so many people whose first name begins with an M. The ill, the recovering, the frail, the hurt. I don’t receive many requests for prayers. Sometimes I offer to include people, when it seems appropriate. Blessing is what we do; and while it may be that those of great holiness can more effectively bless, I try not to let an acute sense of my own failings and limitations stop me from offering prayers of healing and hope. I see prayer and blessing as most fundamentally a reaffirmation of our connections and shared existence. An honoring of our mutual and shared life. What other metaphysics work through these prayers and blessings I neither second-guess nor overly concern myself with. To be wholehearted requires both understanding, and suspension of understanding.

May all be well, free from suffering. May all be whole, without illness or disease in body or mind. May we all be at ease, in peace and comfort.

The stars above, Cassiopeia and Cepheus, the deep promise of Quigly’s Canyon between the mountains, the rustle of the grain. Night prayer. For us all.