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Book Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

 

Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim
A Personal Manual for Prayer and Ritual
Edward Hays
Forest of Peace 04/08 Paperback $19.95
ISBN: 9780939516803


Edward Hays is a Catholic priest and prolific author who writes in the areas of contemporary spirituality, personal prayer, liturgy, and ministry. He has pioneered new approaches and imaginative takes on the devotional life in his many books.

This is one of the well-worn favorites in our Hays collection. It is divided into sections containing morning and evening prayers for each of the four seasons and a collection of psalms for the twenty-first century. For those "who feel themselves drawn by God over their parochial fence and outward into the cosmos," Hays offers a set of cosmopolitan prayers modeled on Buddhist, Native American, Islamic, Hindu, Judaic, and Taoist traditions. Here is an example:

"Do not say, regarding anything, 'I am going to do that tomorrow,' but say only, 'God willing.' "
— the prophet Mohammed from the Koran

"O Beloved One, for whom the future is always now,
I am busy making plans for my tomorrows,
what shall I do and where shall I go.
Am I not the captain of my ship,
competent to chart its course
through calm or stormy seas?
Teach me the foolishness of such thoughts,
and place upon my lips this day
the Arabic word Inshallah, 'God willing.'
May it remind me constantly
that I cannot control today,
let alone tomorrow.
God willing, I will be alive tomorrow;
if God wills it, I shall be able
to meet my commitments,
arrive safely at my destination,
complete the work that I have promised.
Inshallah, wondrous word which reveals to me
that I must live day by day,
always dependent upon God's providence.
May every plan and dream I propose
be sealed with what God may dispose,
and bear the mystic's motto,
'God willing,' Inshallah!"

The last section is devoted to rituals, defined as "those patterns of activity that we repeat time and again." Hays believes that even the most secular rituals speak of the presence of the holy. He offers rituals of house cleaning, fingernail trimming, lighting candles, taking a telephone message, and more. To fill out these practices, he encourages creating a personal shrine and using devotinal aids such as sacred objects, prayer pebbles, and prayers. We highly recommended this devotional treasurehouse!

 

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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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