Sunday, November 1, 2009

"shall I not drink it?...

Just as pleasuse has its prayer (see the last few posts), so too does pain. The words of T.T. Stone continued...

"Pain has also prayer of its own. The utterance may be suppressed; or it may be made up of extorted aspirations and broken sentences, and, in extreme states, even of agonized words. But there are intervals of alleviation, longer or shorter, when the mind is able to collect for a while its thoughts, and, beyond the piercing cry for rest and mercy, can go forth soaring from its own depth and darkness through serener air toward the gates of heaven. Then, we may think, such meditations and prayers as these gush out from the full heart: —

Father, I raise unto thee my cry; in thy mercy hear me. Only thou knowest the necessity; I feel but the bitterness of the draught. My very soul is oppressed by my sufferings. I am faint in body and feeble in mind; I am pained without and within. Only thou canst support me; only thou canst lift me up. Suffer me not to complain or become impatient. O let it be that I may have such relief, and so constant, that I shall never lose the power of unbroken thought; that I shall never fail of controlling my temper, my tongue, and my conduct to those about me. Let not others suffer from any restlessness or unkindness of mine. Strengthen me to possess my soul, to preserve faith in thee, to be gentle and loving to all.

I have learned in this painful experience something of my capacity to endure. When pain is violent, so that it seems intolerable, yet I cannot sink wholly. Thine arm, Almighty, holds me up. When pain gives place to exhaustion, and I feel myself penetrated by weakness, so that it becomes a faintness through my whole body, still I live. Thy life, Eternal, flows through me. Empower me, Lord, to look now to thee for solace and peace. For every relief I thank thee; for these supports in the past, for these consolations of sweet and tranquil rest, for the love and trust which thou breathest into my soul. If I am again to bear the severities of pain, again to faint in weakness, I beseech thee still to comfort me. Carry my thoughts back to thy Son in his deeper sorrows; and impart to me something of the trust which was with him in his lonely grief, which gave his soul rest in thee when he bowed heavily to the earth, which renewed his calmness when his enemies laid their hands upon him, which remained with him when he bare his cross and stood before the judgment-seat, and which broke from his lips as his spirit arose to thee. Make me like this dearly beloved Son of God, a lowly child of thine; and now and always, with him, enable thy feeble one to say, The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it ? Blessed be thou, Father, for ever. Amen."


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