There was a time when in my daily prayer I asked for all the things I deemed most fair and necessary to my life. Success, riches of course and ease and happiness, a host of friends, a home without alloy, a primrose path of happiness and joy.
Ambition ruled my way, I longed to do great things that all my little world might view and whisper – wonderful! O Patient God how blind we are until thy shepherds rod of tender chastening shall lead us on to better things.
Today I have but one petition Lord, teach me to love.
Indeed it is my greatest and my only need. Teach me to love not those who first love me but all the world with that rare purity of broad outstretching thought that bares no trace of earthly taint, but holds in its embrace humanity and seems to see only the good in all, reflected Lord from thee.
Teach me Father how to love the most those who stand most in need of love, that host of people who are poor and sick and bad whose tired faces show their lives are sad. Who toil along life’s way with footsteps slow and hearts more heavy than the world can know.
People whom others pass discreetly by and fail to hear the pleading and the cry for help amongst the tumult of the crowd, people whose anguish makes them cold and proud, bitter, resentful, sullen in their grief. I long to bring them comfort and relief, to put my hand in theirs and at their side walk softly on, a faithful fearless guide.
O Saviour, thou the Christ truth though ever near help me to help those lost ones doubly dear because they need so much. Help me to seek and find that which they thought was lost, to speak such words of cheer that as we pass along the wilderness will burst forth into song.
O Love Divine how empty was that prayer of other years that which was once so fair, those empty baubles that the world calls joys are nothing to me now but broken toys outlived, outgrown. I thank thee that I know those much desired dreams of long ago like butterflies have had their summer day of brief enchantment and have gone.
Today I pray for better things, thou knowest, Lord above, my one desire now.
Teach me to love.
From one of my teachers