Praying with Art: “Roses, Last Summer” by Mary Oliver


If I had another life

I would want to spend it all on some
unstinting happiness.

I would be a fox, or a tree
full of waving branches.
I wouldn’t mind being a rose
in a field full of roses.

Fear has not yet occurred to them, nor ambition.
Reason they have not yet thought of.
Neither do they ask how long they must be roses, and then what.
Or any other foolish question.

-Mary Oliver, from “Roses, Late Summer”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • What word or phrase captures your attention in this poetry?
  • Allow this word or phase to grow in you as you focus on it.
  • Read the excerpt of this poetry once again.
  • In light of the word or phrase earlier, what would you become?
  • Allow a picture of this to form in your mind and in your heart.
  • As you embody this picture, scan your body to see if any fear is lingering.
  • As fear arises, allow the picture to erase the fear and any other questions that arise.
  • Allow this invitation to new life in Christ to set your fears aside so that you may live fully in Christ.
  • Savor this time to set aside fear and question.  Become like a little child who can live fully in Christ.  Remember this feeling and the path to this place.
  • 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, April 22, 2012, the Third Sunday of Easter Year B

Acts 3:12-19
Psalm 4:1-8
1 John 3:1-7
Luke 24:36b-48

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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