Praying with Mary Oliver: The Journey

The Journey

One day you finally knew 
what you had to do, and began, 
though the voices around you 
kept shouting 
their bad advice — 
though the whole house 
began to tremble 
and you felt the old tug 
at your ankles. 
“Mend my life!” 
each voice cried. 
But you didn’t stop. 
You knew what you had to do, 
though the wind pried 
with its stiff fingers 
at the very foundations, 
though their melancholy 
was terrible. 
It was already late 
enough, and a wild night, 
and the road full of fallen 
branches and stones. 
But little by little, 
as you left their voices behind, 
the stars began to burn 
through the sheets of clouds, 
and there was a new voice 
which you slowly 
recognized as your own, 
that kept you company 
as you strode deeper and deeper 
into the world, 
determined to do 
the only thing you could do — 
determined to save 
the only life you could save.”
― Mary Oliver

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • As you consider Mary Oliver’s meditation in poetry, scan your body.
  • Notice what in you needs to be mended.
  • What voices need to be left behind?
  • As you let go of these things, notice God within you.
  • Allow the empty space to be filled with God’s love for you.
  • Claim this love of new life.
  • Let this love grow within you.
  • Hold this love.
  • Savor this love.
  • Remember this love.
  • Live saving love.
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, March 11, 2012, the Third Sunday in Lent Year B 
Exodus 20:1-17
Psalm 94:1-14
1 Corinthians 1:18-25
John 2:13-22

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD


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