A Blessing for Sunday

At Christmas last year (2010) we went through the Peace Labyrinth here in Christchurch and I was particularly effected by a poem I read by John O’Donohue.

Consequently I ordered this book ‘Benedictus – A Book of Blessings’ by John O’Donohue.

Cover - Benedictus

It arrived this week and although I’ll probably review it at some point in the year as a book of the month I wanted to share a poem out of it today. I love that it is a book full of blessings.

From the little bits I’ve read so far I think these words are going to be a balm and a blessing to me. I love his gentle profound way with word and thought.

For One Who Is Exhausted

When the rhythm of the heart becomes hectic,

Time takes on the strain until it breaks;

Then all the unattended stress falls in

On the soul like an endless, increasing weight.

The light of the mind becomes dim.

Things you could take in your stride before

Now become laboursome events of will.

Weariness invades your spirit

Gravity begins falling inside you,

Dragging down every bone.

The tide you never valued has gone out.

And you are marooned on unsure ground.

Something within you has closed down;

And you cannot push yourself back to life.

You have been forced to enter empty time.

The desire that drove you has relinquished.

There is nothing to do now but rest

And patiently learn to receive the  self

You have forsaken in the race days.

At first your thinking will darken

And sadness take over like a listless weather.

The flow of unwept tears will frighten you.


You have travelled too fast over false ground;

Now your soul has come to take you back.

Take refuge in your senses, open up

To all the small miracles you rushed through.

Become inclined to watch the way of rain

When it falls slow and free.

Imitate the habit of twilight,

Taking time to open the well of colour

That fostered the brightness of day.

Draw alongside the silence of stone

Until its calmness can claim you.

Be excessively gentle with yourself.

Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.

Learn to linger around someone of ease

Who feels they have all the time in the world.

Gradually, you will return to yourself,

Having learned a new respect for your heart

And the joy that dwells deep within slow time.

I love these words, this slow and calm reflection from the hectic pace I sometimes live. ** I have read the copyright in the book and don’t believe it is against copyright to publish this poem. It is a great book if you are looking for some soul-restoring words.


4 responses

  1. Wow!!
    Beautiful words. And so true!
    Going to keep a look out for this book. Where did you order it from?

  2. The Book Depository uk (free postage to NZ!) one of my favourite places to shop. Unfortunately the spaces between stanzas in the poem don’t come up even though I typed it properly – it makes it much better to read. It cost me about $28 NZ to get it.

  3. WOW
    this is amazing
    I want to sink into this for a while

    love and light

  4. The message of the poem, for me, is SLOW DOWN. I am in a state of mind and heart to do that, actually forced by circumstances (empty nest, not yet a grandma, financial concerns), as I never have been in my life. If there’s one thing I’d recommend young parents to practice it’s “be in the moment” and, as you pointed out in your family night post (I think), return to and savor those moments as the precious, priceless blessings they are. Seems like you are getting a handle on that. Congratulations! Stopping by from Project 2011. New follower. blessings on your day!

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