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Breathing and Praying – A Reflection

June 6, 2020
A Colorado Bluebird in Hermit Park.

Tonight we were in Virtual Evening Prayer with a friend and mentor we haven’t yet met in person (Rev Thom Shuman). The focus of tonight’s time of prayer and reflection was on the Breath Prayer. The irony of the symbolism was not lost on me. I can’t breathe… I can’t breathe… I can’t breathe….

These were some of the last words of Eric Garner, Manuel Ellis, and George Floyd as they were brutally murdered by the very ones who swore to protect and to serve. As we practiced our breath prayer in Evening Prayer tonight, my heart and my mind went back to these men and their last minutes.

I can breathe… I can pray… I can walk the streets without fear… that is what it means to be a white male with privilege. I am not proud of that. I am actually ashamed of that. My brothers and sisters of color don’t have that privilege. A friend of ours in Mobile (who is a successful lawyer and judge) has had to have that heartbreaking talk with his own son… when he was young his own father along with several prominent African-American businessmen were arrested on false charges and imprisoned. Later released after the charges were proven false. These are struggles that NO parent or child should have to have with their children!

Reading from the book Dialogues With Silence (a collection of Thomas Merton’s prose and his drawings) I came across this quote from Merton’s Entering the Silence (Volume Two (1941-1942) of his journals). It spoke to my heart and soul as I contemplated tonight’s prayer. My God, I pray better to You by breathing. I pray better to You by walking than by talking. (p. 57 in Dialogues and p. 161 in Entering the Silence)

As I unpacked the thought in the second sentence the Spirit opened my eyes. Pray by walking… do I walk with my sisters and brothers who are oppressed? My words, as pious and prayerful as they might be aren’t enough. My walk must be congruent with my words.

Dear reader, as we breathe in and breathe out may we truly comprehend the calling we have. Our calling is to do justice, love kindness/mercy, and walk humbly with God. (Paraphrase of Micah 6:8b)

One Comment
  1. Reblogged this on Anniegoose's Blog and commented:
    Walk humbly 🙂

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