Sunday, August 9, 2015


In cleaning out my computer files, I ran across this item by Margot Benary-Isbert. She was born in Germany and later moved to the United States. She wrote children's books, and that is about all I know about her. I don't know that I ever read any of her books or where I found this prayer or why I saved it.  Well, I suppose I thought I might need to pray it myself someday. She died in 1979 at the age of 89.

Prayer of an Anonymous Abbess

Lord, thou knowest better than myself that I am growing older and will soon be old. Keep me from becoming too talkative, and especially from the unfortunate habit of thinking that I must say something on every subject and at every opportunity.

Release me from the idea that I must straighten out other peoples' affairs. With my immense treasure of experience and wisdom, it seems a pity not to let everybody partake of it. But thou knowest, Lord, that in the end I will need a few friends.

Keep me from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point.

Grant me the patience to listen to the complaints of others; help me to endure them with charity. But seal my lips on my own aches and pains -- they increase with the increasing years and my inclination to recount them is also increasing.

I will not ask thee for improved memory, only for a little more humility and less self-assurance when my own memory doesn't agree with that of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be wrong.

Keep me reasonably gentle. I do not have the ambition to become a saint -- it is so hard to live with some of them -- but a harsh old person is one of the devil's masterpieces.

Make me sympathetic without being sentimental, helpful but not bossy. Let me discover merits where I had not expected them, and talents in people whom I had not thought to possess any. And, Lord, give me the grace to tell them so.

 And I can only add a hearty AMEN! of my own.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...


I love this. Her description of harsh old people as "one of the devil's masterpieces" made me smile. There are a couple of bitter, chronically angry old ladies who shop at the bookstore where I work, and that is as apt a description of them as I can think of!