I call it the place where prayers come.
In the place where the prayers come, the quiet is where they begin.
The water’s edge is a church without walls, where the sky is the dome and the vault is forever:
its very architecture demands the propelling of thoughts,
the launching of bottomless prayer into the heavens.
We’ve been drawn there since the dawn of all civilization.
We are a sea-seeking people: we see something in it,
something so deep and far beyond words.
“In water that departs forever and forever returns,
we experience eternity” wrote Mary Oliver.
Mechtild of Madgeburg talks of the rippling tide,
which as she saw it was a rippling tide of love,
one that “flows secretly out from God and into the soul
and draws it mightily back into its Source.”
From my prayer place, bowed beneath the tabernacle sky,
in the filtered sunlight of any old morning,
or keeping watch as the just-born stars turn on in the twilight,
it is the stillness that settles me.
And the pull of the unalterable tide that draws out my soul’s boundless whispers.
I have come to the place where prayer comes,
And so, too, comes the One who utters the wordless reply.
A reading from Barbara Mahany.