Book of Mercy
and rag, and you do not abandon my heart to the dust. I come to you for mercy and you hear my cry, and you shelter me in my portion, and you make my deeds a warning. Blessed are you who hears the cry of each man’s portion. You cast me away to draw meback, you darken every expectation which is not you. You have taught me with a voice, you have rebuked me with a cheap reward. I cry from my defeat and you straighten my thought. It is your name that makes the cry a healing, it is your mercy that guards the heart in the panic of yes and no. Let the heart speak to its friend, you who decipher the world to a child. Let the heart speak of the love that humbles it for wilder love, and let my whispered gratitude uphold me through this day. In the hopelessness of every other thing, you make your place, you strengthen your presence, and I ask to bow down before the lord of my life.
N OT KNOWING WHERE TO go, I go to you. Not knowing where to turn, I turn to you. Not knowing how to speak, I speak to you. Not knowing what to hold, I bind myself to you. Having lost my way, I make my way to you. Having soiled my heart, I lift my heart to you. Having wasted my days, I bring the heap to you. The great highway covered with debris, I travel on a hair to you. The wall smeared with filth, I go through a pinhole of light. Blocked by every thought, I fly on the wisp of a remembrance. Defeatedby silence, here is a place where the silence is more subtle. And here is the opening in defeat. And here is the clasp of the will. And here is the fear of you. And here is the fastening of mercy. Blessed are you, in this man’s moment. Blessed are you, whose presence illuminates outrageous evil. Blessed are you who brings chains out of the darkness. Blessed are you, who waits in the world. Blessed are you, whose name is in the world.
H ELP ME IN THE RAIN , help me in the darkness, help me at my aimless table. Bend me down to the rain, and let the darkness speak to my heart. Blessed are you who speaks from the darkness, who gives a form to desolation. You draw back the heart that is spilled in the world, you establish the borders of pain. Your mercy you make known to those who know your name, and your healing is discovered beneath the lifted cry. The ruins signal your power; by your hand it is broken down, and all things crack that your throne be restored to the heart. You have written your name on the chaos. The eyes that roll down the darkness, you have rolled them back to the skull. Let each man be sheltered in the fortress of your name, and let each one see the other from the towers of your law. Create the world again, and stand us up, as you did before, on the foundation of your light.
M Y SOUL FINDS ITS PLACE in the Name, and my soul finds its ease in the embrace of the Name. I struggled with shapes and with numbers, and I carved with blade and brain to make a place, but I could not find a shelter for my soul. Blessed is the Name which is the safety of the soul, the spine and the shield of the innermost man, and the health of the innermost breath. I search the words that attend your mercy. You lift me out of destruction, and you win me my soul. You gather it out of the unreal by the power of your name. Blessed is the Name that unifies demand, and changes the seeking into praise. Out of the panic, out of the useless plan, I awaken to your name, and solitude to solitude all your creatures speak, and through the inaccessible intention all things fall gracefully. Blessed in the shelter of my soul, blessed is the form of mercy, blessed is the Name.
A WAKEN ME, LORD, FROM the dream of despair, and let me describe my sin. I would not fall into the bewilderment to which your name invited me. I established a court, and I fell asleep under a crown, and I dreamed I could rule the wicked. Awaken me to the homeland of my heart where you are worshipped forever. Awaken me to the mercy of the breath which you breathe into me. Remove your creature’s self-created world, and dwell in the days thatare left to me. Dissolve the lonely dream which is the judgement on my ignorance, and sweep aside the work of my hands, the barricades of uncleanliness, which I commanded against the torrents of mercy. Let your wisdom fill my solitude, and from the ruin raise your understanding. Blessed is the name of the glory of your kingdom forever and ever. What I have not said, give me the courage to say. What I have not done, give me the will to do. It is you,
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