A Prayer for the End of the World (or How I Learned Not to Envy Dying Catholics)

In honour of the 21st of December and the end of the Mayan calendar and possible impending annihilation of life on earth… I make this confession.

I’ve always envied dying Catholics.

Hail Mary, full of grace, blessed are thee amongst women.

I envied them their Hail Marys which seemed to bring such succour to television’s dying cowboys and soldiers and mobsters.

I envied them so much that I wrote myself a mantra, a prayer that I imagined I could repeat to the click of beads, that would lull my brain into a sense of quiet if I were ever bleeding to death, or in a spot of bother, that would replace the song of St Francis that our high school chaplain taught us: Make me a channel of your peace, and let me seek the comfort of prayerfulness without the uncomfortable hypocrisy of throwing down a little beseeching only when the shit has seriously hit the fan.

This is how I pray.

In silence, may I find stillness. In chaos, a sense of the essential. In transcending myself, let me rejoin the Other. Reverence sweep away fear. To all things, let me be Compassion.

It’s not as beautiful as the Navajo prayer that I have in my notebook.

But if the sky sets itself on fire tonight, I will probably chant it a few times, as I reach for a bottle of wine.

In beauty, may I walk.

All day long, may I walk.

Through the returning seasons, may I walk.

On the trail marked with pollen, may I walk.

With grasshoppers about my feet, may I walk.

With dew about my feet, may I walk.

With beauty, may I walk.

With beauty before me, may I walk.

With beauty behind me, may I walk.

With beauty above me, may I walk.

With beauty below me, may I walk.

With beauty all around me, may I walk.

In old age, wandering on a trail of beauty, lively may I walk.

In old age, wandering on a trail of beauty, living again may I walk.

It is finished in beauty.

It is finished in beauty.

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