A Collection of Collects
You have set in motion
A creation that gives us butterflies.
I ask to understand these dark times
As the inside of the chrysalis
While we await transformation
Because the darkness grows and we are afraid
We cling to evidence that metamorphosis is possible.
Divine Guest at the wedding feast of Cana,
You changed water into wine,
Transform the humble waters of our relationship
That are clouded by the details of living
And everyday annoyances
Into the deep red wine of love and acceptance
Because we need help to see the richness of each other.
Lover of us All,
You see our hearts not our defects and limitations
Gentle my vision that I might see
The divine glow in each person
So that we connect human and divine.
You knew darkness and despair
And prayed to have your cup taken from you,
But accepted that it must be so.
These days seem to gather only gloom
With no redemption
But you tell us otherwise.
We ask for hope, for a slim band of yellow dawn
Breaking at the horizon, even if only in our hearts for now.
You delight in each of us,
You place your hands under our chins
And upturn each face to your loving gaze.
We are grateful for children,
For exuberance and laughter and fights that dissolve
And for their open hearts.
We ask to remember that children embody hope.
Divine Mother Mary,
You know the sorrow of loss, the death of someone you cherished.
Be with us as we hold vigil,
As we hold both the loved one and the lovers in our hearts
We release them into the waters, our arms can’t hold them here
And ask that you surround us with comfort in our sorrow.
Because we honor a life well-lived
And mourn the person we have lost.
Great Spirit of the forest,
We are just beginning to understand
The mystery of trees
That communicate with each other to support and protect,
Stand with and surround each other.
In reverence and awe, we are grateful
For a new awareness of this marvelous mystery
Help us to a deeper understanding
Of our oneness with all
Because we wither in separation.
God of November,
You teach us every year that beauty fades, fields go fallow,
Animals hibernate. The green dies as the cold settles in
And the light is short.
We need these lessons to remember that dying is necessary
For rebirth, that the quiet of winter restores the fields of our hearts.
We ask for the courage to let die all that we cling to
So that we are ready for all that is yet to come.
God who whispers,
You speak to us in our hearts,
Hearts that beat with your pulse
Your life flows through our veins.
You let us lead,
But we can feel your current at our back,
Gentle nudges that need quiet to be felt.
We pray today for the silence to hear,
The courage to step forward,
We trust that the path will become clear.
For these are loud and noisy times
That demand our attention and
Invite us to spend our hearts in many places
That do not nourish our spirit.
This Collection of Collects began as a daily practice to understand the form of the collect, and grew into a way to distill my thoughts into a prayer. The structure of the five folds is both gracious and limiting, and helps me focus on the essence and pare the extraneous. As Pádraig Ó Tuama writes, “Naming things is part of the creative impulse. Naming the deep desires of our heart is a good thing, even if those desires are never satisfied.”
From Daily Prayer, by Pádraig Ó Tuama
‘The collect has beautiful form, like a haiku of intention. It has five folds. The person speaks to God; the person names part of the story of God; the person names their desire – only one desire; and then the person praying gives the reason why this is the one desire they name. This fourth fold echoes the first two: the name and the named story of God. And then the person finishes their prayer – with an Amen, or with a small bird (sic) of praise.”
Karen Hurley Kuchar is a leadership coach and consultant to nonprofits. As a life-long writer and reader, she is fascinated by both the power and beauty of words. A time of transition in her life was the source of many poems, which are published in a collection entitled, Consider the Lobster.
Karen is President of the board of Anawim Arts and facilitates Creating Space as well as the Wisdom Writing Circles.