Prepping for Ash Wednesday

A supplication

by Ken Sehested

Return to your heart, O you transgressors,
and hold fast to the One who made you.
Stand with the Beloved and your footing
shall be firm. Rest in the Merciful One
and you shalt be buoyed.

Where do you go along these rugged
paths, pilgrim, so far from home yet so
winsomely loved? Be clear about what
you seek, and where you seek, for the
beatific life cannot be found in the land
of illusion.

But do not despair, for life is stirring
in cracks and clefts and barren terrain.
Train your eyes to see through the tangle
of disordered desire.

Resist, even to death, that which bedevils
the common good. Welcome and foster
all that shields the battered, that restores
harrowed fields and forests, that reclaims
despoiled waters and all creatures great
and small.

In these lie your spiritual duty: the
performance of your praise and the
practice of your baptismal vows. By
such does your heart’s delight align
with your hand’s valor.

Thereby you shall you go out in peace
and be led back in joy, the hills bursting
in song, the trees in applause.

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Borrowing from St. Augustine and Isaiah 55:12