Third Sunday in Lent (3 March)

Lent – A time to reflect on our prayer life

O Divine Master,
Grant us this day,
strength, when weak,
love, when forsaken,
courage, when afraid,
wisdom, when foolish,
comfort, when alone,
hope, when rejected,
peace, when in turmoil.
Grant us the will to be
strength, love, courage, wisdom,
comfort, hope, and peace to any in need.
All for your sake. Amen.
(Bishop Johnsen of Missouri)

A friend of mine died a week or so ago. Some months ago, he asked me about prayer. His illness was the very debilitating asbestosis or mesothelioma. That disease in its latter stages makes it hard to breathe or concentrate. He told me that he couldn’t remember the familiar prayers that he had used regularly. I suggested that he use the shortened form of the traditional Eastern Orthodox prayer known as the Jesus prayer. It is a prayer that has been a strength to me in times of stress:

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour, have mercy on me.

Hours before his death he told me what a comfort that had been. He died very peacefully. That was an extraordinary blessing for a volatile Irishman.