A Seventeenth-Century Nun’s Prayer
Lord, Thou knowest better than I myself
Know that I am growing older and
Will some day be, old.
Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking
I must say something on every subject
and on every occasion. .
Release me from the craving to straighten
out everybody’s affairs.
Make me thoughtful, but not moody;
helpful, but not bossy.
With my vast store of wisdom it seems
a pity not to use it all, but Thou
knowest, 0 Lord, that I want a
few friends at the end.
Keep my mind free from the recital
of endless details; give me wings to
get to the point.
Seal my lips on my aches and pains. They are
increasing, and love of rehearsing them is
becoming sweeter as the days go by.
I dare not ask for grace enough to enjoy the
tales of others’ pains, but help me to
endure them with patience.
I dare not ask for an improved memory,
but for a growing humility and a lessening
cocksureness when my memory seems to
clash with the memories of others.
Teach me the glorious lesson that
occasionally I may be mistaken,
Keep me reasonably sweet; I do not
want to be a saint – some of them
are so hard to live with – but a sour
old person is one of the crowning
works of the devil.
Give me the ability to see good things in
unexpected places, and talents in
And give me, 0 Lord, the grace to tell them so,