My sister, Pam and I are visiting our brother, Doug in San Jose, California for a week. We’ve had fun sharing dinner with some of his friends, helping him out around the house, and just hanging out together. Sadly, I got a head cold/flu over the weekend and spent last night on the couch downstairs, trying not to wake everyone with my coughing.
While here, I’ve been keeping up with my homework for my History of Spirituality class as I work toward a Certificate in Spiritual Direction through Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis. One of my readings came to my aid last night as I tried to warm up against the chills and wait for morning to dawn. John Cassian (c. 360-433), church theologian and mystic who wrote Conference X on Prayer, shares a formula from Scripture that he admonishes, “each of us, whatever his [sic] condition of spiritual life needs to use this verse. The man [sic] who wants to be helped in all circumstances and at all times, shows that he needs God to help him in prosperity and happiness as much as in suffering and sorrow.” This prayer, rooted in the Psalms, has been used in the liturgies and prayers of the church for centuries.
The formula is: “O God, make speed to save me; O Lord, make haste to help me” (Psalms 31:2, 38:22, 40:17, and 70:1). Cassian insists that, “it fits every mood and temper of human nature, every temptation, every circumstance.” I prayed it over and over through the night and found comfort in a repeated mantra that reminded me I was not alone, and that time and illness would pass.
I encourage you to try it today in whatever situation you find yourself. It seems an apt prayer mantra for the season of Lent, especially as we begin it with another school shooting, and more children tragically killed while the country plays politics with their lives. “O, God, make speed to save us; O Lord, make haste to help us.”