Monday, April 23, 2012

The "Elderly Nun's Prayer"

I was listening to a sermon online this week, and the pastor used the "prayer" below as an icebreaker sort of illustration.  I got such a kick out of it, I had to find the text.  A quick Google search turned up a number of copies, so chances are you've already seen it, but just in case you haven't - you should. 

I seriously doubt the anonymous author was really a nun from the 17th century, as the title indicates, but whoever penned the poem has a pretty good sense of the humor.  

17th Century Nun's Prayer

Lord, thou knowest better than I know myself

that I am growing older and will someday be old.

Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking

I must say something on every subject and on every occasion.

Release me from the craving to straighten out everybody's affairs.

Make me thoughtful, but not moody: helpful, but not bossy.

With my vast store of wisdom, it seems a pity not to use it all,

but thou knowest, Lord, that I want a few friends at the end.

Keep my mind free from the endless recital of details;

give me wings to get to the point.

Seal my lips on my aches and pains.

They are increasing, and love of rehearsing them is

becoming sweeter as the years go by.

I dare not ask for grace enough to enjoy the tales of other’s pains,

But help me to endure them with patience.

I dare not ask for improved memory,

but for a growing humility and a lessening cocksureness

when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others.

Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally, I may be mistaken.

Keep me reasonably sweet;

I do not want to be a saint - some of them are so hard to live with –

but a sour old person is one of the crowning works of the devil.

Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places,

and talents in unexpected people.

And give me, oh Lord, the grace to tell them so.


It's great to be a homeschooler.


Marcela : Naturally Fun Days said...

I enjoy your blog so I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award!

Kari said...

I suspect you are absolutely right about it not being a real nun's prayer. A nun would never say, "I do not want to be a saint" because as Catholics we believe everyone in heaven is a saint. That is what it means to be a saint. Of course, not all souls in heaven will be recognized as Canonized Saints by the Church. Still, since it is the goal of all Christians to spend eternity in Heaven with Jesus, no one from the Catholic faith (who knows and understands the faith) would ever say they did not want to be a saint. Since you are always so good about learning new things, I thought you might be interested. Thanks so much.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Kari - Yes, I really couldn't imagine a nun saying that. To my ear, although there are some "old" touches - I don't think it sounds like 17th century either - but I still thought it was cute :)