Lord, why did you tell me to love all men, my brothers? I have tried, but I come back to you, frightened… Lord, I was so peaceful at home, I was so comfortably settled. It was well furnished, and I felt cozy. I was alone, I was at peace. Sheltered from the wind, the rain, the mud. I would have stayed unsullied in my ivory tower. But, Lord, you have discovered a breach in my defences, You have forced me to open my door, Like a squall of rain in the face, the cry of men has awakened me; Like a gale of wind a friendship has shaken me, As a ray of light slips in unnoticed, your grace has stirred me… and, rashly enough, I left my door ajar. Now, Lord, I am lost! 4. Outside men were lying in wait for me. I did not know they were so near; in this house, in this street, in this office; my neighbour, my colleague, my friend. As soon as I started to open the door I saw them, with outstretched hands, burning eyes, longing hearts, like beggars on church steps. The first ones came in, Lord. There was after all some space in my heart. I welcomed them. I would have cared for them and fondled them, my very own little lambs, my little flock. You would have been pleased, Lord, I would have served and honoured you in a proper, respectable way. Till then, it was sensible… But the next ones, Lord, the other men, I had not seen them; they were hidden behind the first ones. There were more of them, they were wretched; they over-powered me without warning. We had to crowd in, I had to find room for them. Now they have come from all over, in successive waves, pushing one another, jostling one another. They have come from all over town, from all parts of the country, of the world; numberless, inexhaustible. They don’t come alone any longer but in groups, bound one to another. They come bending under heavy loads; loads of injustice, of resentment and hate, of suffering and sin… They drag the world behind them, with everything rusted, twisted, or badly adjusted. Lord, they hurt me! They are in the way, they are everywhere, They are too hungry, they are consuming me! I can’t do anything any more; as they come in, they push the door, and the door opens wider… Lord! My door is wide open! I can’t stand it any more! It’s too much! It’s no kind of life! What about my job? My family? My peace? My liberty? And me? Lord, I have lost everything, I don’t belong to myself any longer; There’s no more room for me at home. 5. Don’t worry, God says, you have gained all. While men came in to you, I, your Father, I, your God, Slipped in among them.

8 Responses to “Extract from Prayers of life by Michel Quoist (p90-91)”

  1. Crystal Says:

    I READ THIS ON,A DAILY BASIS..IT LETS ME KNOW,THAT GOD IS WITH ME FOR ALL ETERNITY..


  2. thank you! Simply breathtaking

  3. Steve S. Says:

    The first Michel Quoist I have read.. such passionate honesty. I (we?) so want to keep my self. My thoughts, my routines, my TIME!! And then those last two sentences

  4. Judi Says:

    And recognising that God is there makes it possible to live with ‘burnout’

  5. Jim Ellis Says:

    This prayer was brought to life by Betty MacPhail in our Salvation Army class of 1973 in Toronto Ontario by her portrayal of it as a presentation in worship services where not a dry eye was left.


  6. […] Quoist’s  Prayers of Life;  The Ugly American (Burdick & Lederer); The Last Blue Sea (ii) (David Forrest aka David […]

  7. Cynthia Savoie Says:

    Did God miscalculate when He gave each one of us twenty four hours in everyday? Would we have enough time to do all that we need to do if we were given twenty five or thirty hours instead? I don’t believe we would. I think that we would still overwork and shorten our lives…even though we might do so in Christ’s name!

  8. G.Woods Says:

    We know that feeling so well… Particularly as we are bombarded with news ,disastrous news in the media:our only peace is the knowledge that God is with us. That we can only do our little bit, & pray some more.

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