This hymn by Sister Mary Xavier was a staple of my childhood. It is worth turning to when life seems pointless or confusing, and ‘Lord, for tomorrow and its needs I do not pray‘ is enough of a motto, enough of a prayer, to see us through every day. A vocation is something to be lived out day by day; sometimes a day can be very different to what we expect, but today is enough for us; we can worry about tomorrow when it comes.
Lord, for tomorrow and its needs I do not pray; keep me, my God, from stain of sin just for today.
Let me both diligently work and duly pray; Let me be kind in word and deed, just for today.
Let me be slow to do my will, prompt to obey; help me to sacrifice myself, just for today.
Let me no wrong or idle word unthinking say; set thou a seal upon my lips just for today.
Lord, for tomorrow and its needs I do not pray; but keep me, guide me, love me, Lord, just for today.
Lyrics by Sybil Farish Partidge (1856 – 1917) – alias Sister Mary Xavier. Public Domain.
This is the ancient baptistry of Milan Cathedral; here it was that Saint Ambrose baptised Augustine, back in the fourth century. This area, adjacent to today’s Cathedral, was rediscovered when the Metro was being excavated after World War II. Ambrose was a good pastoral bishop, working to reconcile different bodies of Christians and to present the faith as a reasonable life choice in an age of scepticism. We just skipped his feast to accommodate Sister Johanna’s One Good Deed posts, which tied in nicely with Mary’s feast yesterday. Ambrose was great, but not that great!
Ambrose was also a poet, who wrote this evening hymn, still very much used today; this is J.M. Neale’s translation.
Before the ending of the day, Creator the world, we pray, that with thy wonted favour thou wouldst be our guard and keeper now.
From all ill dreams defend our eyes, from nightly fears and fantasies; tread under foot our ghostly foe, that no pollution we may know.
O Father, that we ask be done, through Jesus Christ thine only Son, who, with the Holy Ghost and thee, doth live and reign eternally. Amen.
This tapestry runner is on one of the benches in the church at Aberdaron. The words sound as though they are taken from a psalm but they are the opening words of a hymn, translated from the German of Dorothea von Schlegel. Dig a little further back (the internet is like that beach outside the church that we saw yesterday, full of treasures!) and yes, it is from Psalm 46:10-11:
Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.
And that’s enough from me: be still, listen for the waves outside the church, be still.