“My dear,” he said, “love, your God, is a trinity. There are three necessary prayers and they have three words each. They are these, “Lord have mercy. Thee I adore. Into Thy Hands.” Not difficult to remember. If in times of distress you hold to these you will do well.”
Elizabeth Goudge, The Scent of Water
I had already read, and been captivated by, several of Elizabeth Goudge’s novels when I came upon this passage in The Scent of Water. Her novels for anyone who isn’t familiar with them are filled with everyday people and their everyday lives. One would think that they are typical English village novels, full of tea, and vicars, and walks in the country, but no, there is always more. The reader is always aware of something waiting around every corner, moving in every chance encounter, shimmering on every horizon, and that something is grace.
The day that I read this passage, that grace was waiting for me. I think that all of us have moments when a passage in a book or the lyrics in a song strike us to the heart. They affect us in such a personal way that it’s hard to convey to anyone else what they mean to us. These words struck me in just that way. I love that they are simple, yet all-encompassing. They are all that needs to be said “in times of distress” and, except for perhaps a thank you, all that can be said in the presence of God. For the past 25 years, I have prayed them when I didn’t know what else to pray; and with few exceptions, I have prayed them every time I have received Communion, or knelt before the Blessed Sacrament.
And so, I begin this blog with those three prayers. I hope that I will be able to keep them in mind as I write, even when what I’m writing is much less serious than what I’ve written here—and I expect that that will be frequently. Of course, given the amount of time it’s taken for me to put one post on this blog (I started working on the blog during Advent.) I’m not sure how frequent anything will be around here.
Welcome to anyone who has read this far, and I also welcome to any comments you might have.
Photo credit Teresa Love