A spiritual practice to close the day:
At the end of the day, we are sometimes tired, worn out, and ready to sleep. For many of us, our minds don’t turn off quite as quickly as our bodies may wish. A spiritual practice of closing the day with prayer and reflection may offer us an opportunity to set aside the chaotic thoughts and align our body, mind, and spirit into rest. In this prayer, “Vespers”, John O’Donohue blesses this closing time of day. Read it quietly, either silently or out loud, as you close your waking day:
As light departs to let the earth be one with night,
Silence deepens in the mind, and thoughts grow slow;
The basket of twilight brims over with colors
Gathered from within the sacred meadows of the day
And offered like blessings to the gathering Tenebrae.
After the day’s frenzy, may the heart grow still,
Gracious in thought for all the day brought,
Surprises that dawn could never have dreamed:
The blue silence that came to still the mind,
The quiver of mystery at the edge of a glimpse,
The golden echoes of worlds behind voices.
Tense faces unable to hide what gripped the heart,
The abrupt cut of a glance or a word that hurt,
The flame of longing that distance darkened,
Bouquets of memory gathered on the heart’s altar,
The thorns of absence in the rose of dream.
And the whole while the unknown underworld
Of the mind, turning slowly, in its secret orbit.
May the blessing of sleep bring refreshment and release
And the Angel of the moon call the rivers of dream
To soften the hardened earth of the outside life,
Disentangle from the trapped nets the hurts and sorrow,
And awaken the young soul for the new tomorrow.
~John O’Donohue, from “To Bless the Space Between Us”
If you enjoyed these blessings from John O’Donohue and want to learn more about his life and work, this archived episode from Krista Tippet’s “On Being” might be worth a listen: John O’Donohue Interview on “On Being”