When I travel for vacation or on retreat, a part of my spiritual practice is to pull out my St. Mary’s directory and pray for every member of the parish by name. In the back of my directory, I always make a note of when and where I’ve prayed, and even when my directory is out of date and gone to the shredder, I tear out that page and hold onto it. Those pages have become a kind of prayer journal.
While I was on my Advent trip to New Mexico, as I wrote notes to those who had made a money Stewardship pledge, I’d prayed already for a good number of the congregation. It wasn’t until I was seated on the plane getting ready to fly home, that I realized I hadn’t prayed for the whole parish from start to finish. I opened up my directory and began to pray.
The sun was beginning to set as we took off from Albuquerque. It was one of those rare plane trips where I had a whole row to myself, and I moved from my preferred aisle seat to the window so I could enjoy the changing light.
I glanced out the window, and there reflected on the vesper light was my St. Mary’s prayer list. Since we were flying west, my list stayed bathed in the sunset through the very last name in the directory.
O Gracious Light, pure brightness of the everliving God in heaven,
O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!
Now as we come to the setting of the sun, and our eyes behold the vesper light,
we sing your praises, O God: Holy and Undivided Trinity.
You are worthy at all times to be praised by happy voices, O Word of God, O Giver of Life, and to be glorified by all the worlds.