As a writer, I often get the most interesting commissions. I have had cause to write everything from song lyrics to product descriptions, biographies to scripture. But this one stands out as one of the most unusual from my recent writing experience. I have a dear friend who is active in the Christian church and who was seeking a rosary. This was written as a modernized interpretation of how to pray. I must admit that it is heavily Buddhist-inspired, as all of my writing necessarily is, but it is fully in keeping with Christian sensibilities, I believe. Anyway, if any of you Christians out there are seeking a rosary to recite, you are most welcome to this one.
A Modern Christian Rosary
With the sign of the cross, I give myself wholly to peace and love in this moment and into a future where all life flows from the living God within us all.
First – A decade of peace
1 Dear God within me, I ask the strength and wisdom to taste the peace of your teachings and the knowledge of the love I was made to embody. Please guide my footsteps on a path of acceptance, acknowledging my strengths and weaknesses with humility and understanding, as I encounter myself and discover the future.
2 Dear God within all life, I ask for the compassion and empathy that describes the most human of thoughts, in each of my choices today, that I may speak with your voice and love with your heart as I encounter those around me.
3 Dear God within all things, I ask that you give me the words to cherish this world that is my home and the peace within not simply to protect it from others’ deeds but from my own thoughts and doubts and feelings. Please let me see the beauty of my world and pour out my thankfulness for its every moment.
4 Dear God of the air and of life, I ask that with each breath in, with each breath out, I am freed from the passion of humanity and brought closer to the peace that in your name is the strongest foundation for love and interaction. Please give me the strength to walk away from the temptation of emotion and the resolve to understand its hold before I give in even for a second to its imbalance.
5 Dear God of the water and whose love flows through my veins, I ask simply that I understand the path on which I walk, a path of endless choices give to me by a world of infinite possibilities where I may always choose to act as a voice for peace and calm and quiet and move. Please give me the wisdom to let the flowing water of life burst from my mind as the teaching of love and harmony.
6 Dear God of self and strength, in a world of noise, please give me the strength to be quiet and still in darkness and in light, as I not only forgive those who hurt me but myself. Please give me the strength to let go of the past and live beauty into tomorrow.
7 Dear God of words and dreams, in a world of hatred, please give me the strength to be calm against the walls of division and the knowledge to scale those walls, not to fight those who stand on the other side but to work as their partner to turn walls to dust and embrace the equality of all as children of the living God.
8 Dear God of unity and oneness, in this existence hopelessly focused on self-interest and pleasure, please take me into a heart of other, not as separate from myself but as the whole of life, undivided from me and living within your image of peace and tranquility, harmony and mutual understanding, so we may stand together to build a future where all are equal and all are one.
9 Dear God of compassion and strength, in a world of the poor and alone, please give me the strength to speak against the acceptance of class and poverty, not in anger or judgment but in hope for a path through the mountains of differentiation to emerge into a new Eden of humanity as one image, your knowledge acted and chosen for a single humanity emboldened by love and one in peaceful coexistence.
10 Dear God of the moment and the timeless, in a world where so many turn away from your wisdom and love and walk toward paths of noise and violence, hatred and misunderstanding, give me the strength always to remember your calm voice in the panic, your peaceful words in the war and to taste the spirit of acceptance when harmony has been all but lost. Please never let me forget that you are always within me and that your life is mine as I walk with you.
Second – A decade of introspection
1 I pray that the love and compassion that is God within me lives in my every breath, my every choice and my every action. May the light of Jesus shine through each moment of my life here with others and they may see his face reflected in mine.
2 I pray that the peace of God radiate from my being and that I never stoop to the level of judgment or tribalism, bigotry or racial differentiation, that I embrace all others as Jesus did and live as one with all people I encounter, regardless of who they are or what they believe.
3 I recognize the things that I have done that have not always followed your teachings, that I knew were wrong, that I did not know were wrong, that caused harm to others and that are my fault. I admit them and feel them deeply within myself and ask forgiveness that cannot come from outside but only from the spirit within.
4 I humbly accept responsibility for the choices that I have made, both those that have been good and those that have been bad in their outcome and pray for the strength to forgive not only those who have harmed me but myself, as I see God reflected in my desire for better future and in my devotion to make better choices from this moment forward.
5 I pray that I will be worthy of being a child of God, an embodiment of scripture and living reminder of the teachings of Jesus. I ask only for the wisdom and strength to live a life that does not give in to desire and walks away from sinful thoughts and behaviors, knowing that you will give me that strength to act and wisdom to decide and that I have only to listen to your voice within me to make the right choice.
6 I ask that you never give up on me, that you see yourself in me and enliven and enlighten my spirit, give me the hope that tomorrow will not simply be a better day but the means to make that happen.
7 I pray for those who have gone before me, my ancestors and my loves, my family and my friends, who have been lost and who are still by my side, that I may give them the respect and caring, the acceptance and strength they require to continue to live.
8 I ask that I may be a light into all people, not simply those I meet but those who hear my words and see my actions reflected in others, that I may stand for the love of God and the peace of Christ not only in my choices but in my automatic actions, my responses to situations and my desires for the future. Please let me touch their souls with my peace and bring them calm.
9 I pray that you will live in me and walk by my side along the path that Jesus’ taught me to walk and that whenever I stumble you will guide my feet back onto that path, not in judgment but with the clarity of wisdom and the beauty of happiness in cleaning and purifying my life into a posture of love and compassion.
10 I pray that I will know how to accept the world around me, how to change myself to live a better life and how to merge with the unity of the Holy Spirit living in us all. I ask for the joy of peace and the understanding of harmonious interaction with each breath, each step and each word I take and give into the world.
Third – A decade of history
1 Spirit of God within me, I sing respect for my ancestor, Mary of Magdala. I pray for the understanding and compassion that she embodied, the willingness to sacrifice her desire and safety for the pursuit of greater equality and knowledge, a closer walk with the teachings of your child, Jesus. I wish no more than to walk in her footsteps, to take those teachings of pacifism and human life and share them in love with all around me. I ask for her to live within me so I may speak with her voice to this age and calm the riotous seas of modernity with the harmony of ancient wisdom.
2 I speak respect for Paul of Tarsus, the great teacher to those who wished to walk the path Jesus led. I pray for the leadership and conviction of his conversion and the words to awaken the hearts of those who look to me in this age. I ask to embody the certainty of Paul of the universality of Jesus’ teachings of unity, of one law in your name founded on love, compassion and respect. I give myself to speak those words with each choice in my life, to follow the path laid out in my life for all children of this wisdom.
3 I speak respect for John, embodiment of youth and clarity to speak a message of love in the face of conflict and peace confronted with tribal ignorance and historic animosity. I pray for the honesty and lyric compassion of his tongue. I seek within myself your teachings so that I too may reveal with my every breath the nature of humanity, to touch lightly all existence and give harmony where now there is suspicion and mistrust, to write with my life a new epistle to be read in my face, a revelation of honest respect for all children of Jesus’ wisdom.
4 I speak respect for Simon Peter, solid rock of faith and foundation of life’s beauty who shone the light of Jesus’ teaching into a world overrun with false belief and idolatry. I pray for the understanding and compassion to take those words and live them into this world of new idols built on the self and break apart the delusion that leads today into the abyss of separation and division, calling all your children together and casting off words of nation and prejudice, comparison and hatred to build a new church in the image you have taught, the beautiful law of living service.
5 I speak love for Mary, symbol of purity and embodiment of acceptance and submission. I pray for the wisdom to know when to stand for your teachings and when to submit to the necessity of the moment, when to speak the words of love that I find when I see your face within me and when to walk away from the hatred that fights against the pure understanding and compassion that she represents. I seek the strength to be a new Mary in this age, walking as a living sacrifice to find my happiness while I give myself to others in a relationship of mutual service and interconnected understanding.
6 I speak humble respect for Thomas as the embodiment of questioning wisdom, one who spoke not simply in acceptance but in doubt. I pray for the peace within myself to understand what the teachings of Jesus lead me to do and where I must doubt what I have been told, what is common knowledge, what is folk wisdom and society’s limited understanding of reality and to speak from a place of love and compassion to lead myself and those around me away from the darkness of competition and lust into a harmony of enmeshed community.
7 I sing love for Judas Iscariot, who more than any other symbolizes and embodies the willingness to walk a path of conviction to its extremes, to sacrifice in the face of popular wisdom and to speak against the norms not simply with words but with confident action. I pray for my future to be a complete rejection of all life that does not serve the goals you embody within me and to live in accordance with your new commandment of peaceful love, wherever that path may lead my feet to walk, with none of the fear of failure and all of the willingness to give up the accepted present to build a new future in your image that Judas was prepared to live through his single kiss of challenge and change.
8 I speak respect for James of Galilee, embodiment of language into the ears of those who had not yet heard and understood Jesus’ message. I pray for the confidence and strength, the words and music to touch the hearts of those I encounter each day in my life to understand and seek you within themselves, to follow the teachings of Jesus and embrace the music within their hearts and nature. I ask for the compassion to change my language to the one that will mesh with the ears of those who hear and to change my choices to be those that better fit my new life, from this moment forward, of equality, love and oneness in your image shining through me.
9 I speak respect for Mark and Luke, the teachings of flesh made word and the images of life lived in the service of new understanding and the breaking of division and inequality become the tongues of ancestral teaching. I pray for the beauty within myself that is you to be visible in each word I think and speak but more than this I ask for the wisdom to live in harmony and to follow the path laid out on that mountain as the promise of a new Kingdom of Heaven was created in each of us, without exception, to be created through our love and our acceptance, our peace and our wisdom. Please, dear God within me, Spirit of beauty and guide in every moment, build that new Kingdom in my heart.
10 I sing respect and love for Jesus, embodiment of wisdom and speaker of truth. I seek nothing more than to live the life of service as he taught, to seek equality and peace with all the lives around me and to embrace humanity without the self-imposed divisions and darkness of hatred and lust and possession, to take up the cross of challenge and follow his example to speak into the dark past and taste light apart from nations and wars and conquest and self-interest. I pray for the wisdom to overcome the present and the love to accept tomorrow.
Fourth – A decade of promise
1 I promise to live the love embodied by Christ and the peace and harmony of God within me.
2 I promise to walk away from passion and anger and to seek wisdom and freedom from prejudice in each action.
3 I promise to believe in a better way, far from violence or conflict, not to stand up and fight but to create peace in my every breath and footstep.
4 I promise to speak the wisdom of God within us all into a world that has forgotten to look for love or understand empathy.
5 I promise to live a life of understanding and compassion in the face of hatred and to serve those who need my help as once Jesus served and helped the least among the people of Earth.
6 I promise to confess my mistakes and give myself forgiveness and absolution in the name of the Holy Spirit living within me and guiding my footsteps in the way of peace and tranquility, learning from what once was accepted to create a better future.
7 I promise to speak light into the darkness and pursue the knowledge of God within us all at every turn.
8 I promise to take that speech to the people I love, those I care for, never for a moment letting anyone around me doubt the service that I offer in unity with them, as Jesus taught us all to serve at any price.
9 I promise to answer the call of a stranger in the night and give them peace, bring them toward humanity’s desire for harmony without exception.
10 I promise to walk with Jesus at my side and embrace his teachings at every step.
Fifth – A decade of choice
1 I choose peace at every turn and walk away from anger and confrontation.
2 I choose love in every moment and walk away from prejudice or judgment, hatred or tribal allegiance.
3 I choose humanity with each breath and walk away from self-interest and nationalist ideals.
4 I choose happiness with each footstep and search for a way to bring the knowledge of tranquility to each person I encounter on the path.
5 I choose harmony with each action I take, turning endless cheeks against even the concept of enemy and forgiving without exception.
6 I choose calm every day, seeking to embody the strength and wisdom of Jesus, walking a path between extremes and embracing this instant as beautiful.
7 I choose understanding within each thing I touch and see and feel, giving myself permission to make a better environment in partnership with those around me and never giving in to simplicity over stewardship.
8 I choose silence at each moment of conflict, seeking nothing more than peace when the alternative is disagreement. I will embody love and understanding and teach Jesus’ lesson that it is better to be weak in the face of others than to stand against them, that they may also learn the empathy and compassion inherent in that peace.
9 I choose knowledge with each question, not being afraid to doubt or inquire, to learn from mistakes not only my own and to walk through the scriptures not as one who seeks literal truth but to find the depth of meaning in a life embodying the God within, the Spirit of all life and the teachings of Jesus living within me without exception.
10 I choose acceptance with each word I speak and embody the love of God and the peace of the Spirit that lives in all of us, searching to announce its presence and live as one with all things.
I pray that I may hold the love of God, the wisdom of the Holy Spirit living in my every breath and the peace of Jesus’ words throughout this day and my whole life.
Composed by Avi Sato for Ashley Ruby