Brian Doyle is a talented Catholic writer and storyteller who has great enthusiasm for life. We have reviewed quite a number of his books, and he always gives us some fresh approaches to everyday spirituality where wonder, imagination, and joy thrive.
This collection of 100 prayers rides into our hearts and consciousness on Doyle's God-given gift of creativity. The prayers express Doyle's fertile imagination and spur us to think more seriously about our own informal prayers and how we can spice them up so as to keep both ourselves and the Holy One from dozing off.
Doyle mines both the miracle and the muddle when he writes prayer about: Suntan Lotion, Port-A-Potties, Decent Shoes, Proofreaders, and the Girl Scouts of America. He offers a "Prayer on Seeing Yet Another Egregious Parade of Muddy Paw Prints on the Floor" celebrating a dog as a "companion of endless eager cheer and amiability."
One of our favorites is a paean of praise to nurses. We're going to take this prayer with us the next time we visit a hospital:
A Prayer of Awed Thanks for Nurses
"Witnesses, attendants, bringers of peace; brilliant technical machinists; selfless cleaners of all liquids no matter how horrifying; deft finders of veins when no veins seem available; soothers and calmers and amusers; tireless and patient and tender souls; brisk and efficient when those are the tools to keep despair at bay; those with prayers in their mouths as their patients slide gently through the mysterious gate, never to return in a form like the shriveled still one in the bed; feeders and teasers, mercies and singers; they who miss nothing with their eyes and ears and fingers and hearts; they who are not saluted and celebrated and worshipped as they ought to be; they who are the true administrators of hospitals and clinics, for it is they who have their holy hands on the brows and bruises of the broken and frightened; they who carry the new infants to their sobbing exhausted thrilled mothers; they who must carry the news of damage and death to the family in the waiting room; they whom You know, each and every one, glorious and lovely in their greens and blues and rainbow clothing; they who are You in every tender touch and quiet friendly gentle murmured remark; they who are the best of us; bless them always and always, Mercy; for they are the clan of calm and the tribe of tender, and I bow in thanks for them. And so: amen."
Anyone who has ever been in a hospital will join in this prayerful tribute to "the clan of the calm and the tribe of the tender." Poem prayers like this one should be read aloud on the hospital channels or used by chaplains visiting patients.
By the time we finished A Book of Uncommon Prayer, we were ready to create our own informal prayers for use in any and every situation.