237 – Simplicity – Intention on the Spiritual Journey

I suspect you are all familiar with the Serenity Prayer,

Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.


How does it strike you?

If I am honest with you today, I have to admit I have in the past not been impressed by it’s “character.”

A while back I heard about the book The Way of Serenity by Father Jonathan Morris in which presents what might be called a prolonged meditation on the Serenity Prayer,

These words of his caught my attention,

“When I first encountered this prayer many years ago, it caught my attention, but I didn’t give it much thought. It seemed a bit cliché, something you might see on a motivational poster with accompanying pictures of sprinters, pandas, sunsets, weightlifters, or waterfalls.” (p 2)

I have to say he well expressed some my thoughts on this prayer. But he goes on to write,

“In my pride and immaturity, I had mistaken simplicity for shallowness, and the universal for the cliché.”” …. I witnessed broken men and women pray the Serenity Prayer like I could only wish to pray it myself. .. It was prayer because it was wide open, fearless, and important dialogue with God …. It was the purest and most genuine act of self-abandonment to God’s will I had ever witnessed. Their prayer wasn’t especially pretty, or clean; it was real, and gritty. It was the opposite of religious showmanship; it was intimate, existential, and wholly indifferent to any outsider’s praise or reproach. It was prayer, plain and simple.” (p 3)

OK! some instruction for me from Father Morris!

Was it my “pride and immaturity” that I took for “maturity” in prayer that prevented me from seeing the simplicity and honesty and full depth of the Serenity Prayer?

Maybe so.

Read over his description of the prayer again, and look for what you take to be the character of “true” prayer.

When is our prayer “true” in these ways? When does it fall short?

What might the Serenity Prayer teach us today?

{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}


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