Oct 26 – An ancient prayer and a prayer written 3 or 4 days ago

The prayer below appears on the first day of January each year.  If I am not mistaken, it is the oldest prayer I ever recite, several thousand years deep in the liturgy that helps open the first day of each year in the Christian tradition.   Yesterday, my Lakota daughter, Mary Tobacco, and my sister, Mary Staudenmaier, and I joined in a mid-afternoon prayer — several sacred prayers followed by prayers for, and in gratitude for, people who know us, and who bless us, and who need us.  Because Mary Tobacco lives in an intense infection zone – – The Pine Ridge Lakota reservation is generally considered the poorest county in the United States – – Mary lobbies for desperate people.  Yesterday through c. one foot of snow, she and her team of 35 men and women delivered firewood and food along the district’s back roads.   We prayed for the elders and the children, prayed about hunger, and the pandemic’s dangers.

When we turned to the January 1 prayer, the two Marys with whom I prayed found this ancient prayer nourishing and beautiful.   Mary T asked us to pray it again this morning as we began our day.   Here it is;  best to read the prayer out loud, with pauses.


May the Lord Bless you
and keep you
May she make her face
shine on you
and be kind to you
may he turn his face tenderly toward you and bring you peace.


Have a blest week,


john sj

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