invitation from jesus

I run the prayer rope through my thumb and index finger on my right hand, which now has a blister on it from the many hundreds of knots I’ve slid through in the hour I’ve been praying. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. I feel guilty as sin about a slip up in my recovery and I think that I possibly started these prayers with some misguided idea that I could atone for it myself.

I don’t think that idea lasted very long, and I don’t think it’s truly why I began the prayers, which I started doing in the lobby of my daughter’s therapist’s office. My heart was heavy over what I had done, and also about all the stress, worry and grasping at control that had gotten me into this mess. I had picked up my rosary to pray first, but I just couldn’t pray it at that time, perhaps because as much as I love it, Jesus had other plans.

I had put on my prayer rope bracelet this morning and I’m not actually sure that I really intended to pray it but having it or a rosary around my wrist helps me to remember to pray even when I’m out and about. My bracelet only has thirty-three knots. When I get home from my daughter’s appointment, I pick up my 100-knot rope, and I continue my prayers. 400, 500.

I take my son outside to the park because he has had enough of being inside the apartment, and I walk around the parks walking track over and over again. I’m a large woman that uses a walker, so perhaps waddling better describes it, but with 30 minutes on the track and holding the prayer rope, I think I can get in some physical and spiritual exercise. 600, 700.

I keep praying with the belief that Jesus wants me to and that he is the one who invited me to pray the Jesus prayer, and he has plans for it. I go back inside and continue with the prayers. By the time I get to 800, I’m finally ready to look Jesus in the eyes and actually talk to him. The rhythm of the prayers has helped me get to this point, and after 800, with sweat running down my face, I finally talk to Jesus.

I look into his eyes of the icon that I have of him and begin to tell him what I’ve done. That blister is still aggravating my thumb, but it’s worth the conversation that I’m now having with Jesus, and it only took 800 prayers to where I was actually able to look at him and talk. My icon of Jesus is amazing, and Jesus has also looked deeply into my eyes from the icon, gazing a while, assuring me of his love for me. That’s part of what icons are designed to do.

I confess what led to this point, the feelings and the angst behind it all. I keep talking, and Jesus keeps listening. I’m truly sorry I’ve fucked up, and Jesus knows all about it anyway. The whole situation is a clusterfuck and it’s now overwhelming. I haven’t trusted Jesus the way I should have, and that’s what I’m here to tell him about. Once I’m done letting out some of this stuff, but certainly not all, I pick up the prayer rope again. 900, 1,000.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Published by MaryClare StFrancis

MaryClare StFrancis is a writer who sounds as boring as hell but who is intimately acquainted with the horrific and the sacred. For a long time, darkness has been her friend, but she now walks in the light of Christ. As a committed Episcopalian, her main contribution to the church is her ability to make the priests facepalm or swear, depending on the day and context. MaryClare has a Master of Arts in English and Creative Writing and lives in Mississippi with her four children.

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