Arrow Prayers

PRAYER: How and Why Short Prayers Pierce Heaven, from The Cloud of Unknowing

April 26, 2012

Why does this little prayer of one syllable (such as, “Lord!” or “Father!” or “Jesus!”) pierce the heavens?  Surely because it is offered with a full spirit, in the height and the depth, in the length and the breadth of the spirit of him who prays. In the height: that is with the full might of the spirit; in the depth: for in this little syllable all the faculties of the spirit are contained; in the length: because if it could always be experienced as it is in that moment, it would cry as it does then; in the breadth: because it desires for all others all that it desires for itself. It is in this moment that the soul comprehends with all the saints what is the length and the breadth, the height and the [...]

PRAYER: The Golden Arrow Prayer

February 1, 2012

The golden arrow prayer differs from the ones I just posted in a number of ways.  First, it is not a prayer sent to God; instead, it is a prayer that was given by Jesus to a French Carmelite nun by the name of Sister Marie of Saint Peter and of the Holy Family.  It is described by the church as a prayer of reparation for blasphemy, and for the profanation of Sunday and of Holy Days of Obligation. That’s official. In addition to this turn around of archers, the golden arrow prayer, which has a more dignified title: The Golden Arrow Holy Face Devotion, the prayer is not as short and sweet as others we have seen.  It is a multi-lined, poem-styled prayer that, instead of seeming to be a spontaneous expression of the heart, is a [...]

PRAYER: The Short and the Sweet — Arrow Prayers

February 1, 2012

Arrow prayers are, essentially, one-line (or two) prayers said in the moment.  They are characterized as very heartfelt and sincere petitions that sum up the problem nicely.  The term, arrow prayer, was coined by Augustine to describe an early Coptic form of monastic prayer. Since the arrow is mentioned, I will describe these prayers as going to the heart of the matter in a most swift and efficient manner. What do you think? One of these days I want to set aside some time to sit down and come with some of my own.  But, perhaps, setting some time aside to sit down and create these would be defeating the purpose — they are supposed to be spontaneous, and instant in their creation, after all. Oh well. Here are some examples: O Lord, you [...]