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Appleton, WI

July 19: Day by Day with Father Bill

MONDAY OF THE SIXTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

A Prayer to God of Many Names by Nancy Schaffer

Because she wanted 
everyone to feel
included in her
prayer,
she said right at the beginning
several names for
the Holy:
Spirit, she said, Holy 
One, Mystery, God
But then thinking these weren’t
enough ways of
addressing
that which cannot
fully be addressed,
she added
particularities,
saying,
Spirit of Life, Spirit of 
Love,
Ancient Holy One,
Mystery We Will Not 
Ever Fully Know,
Gracious God, and
also
Spirit of this Earth,
God of Sarah, Gaia, [Greek god of the Earth]
Thou
And then, tongue
loosened, she fell to 
naming superlatives
as well:
Most Creative One,
Greatest Source,
Closest Hope –
even though 
superlatives for the
Sacred seemed to
her
probably redundant,
but then she couldn’t 
stop:
One who Made the
Stars, she said,
although she knew
technically a number
of those present
didn’t believe the
stars had been
made by anyone or
thing
but just luckily
happened.
One Who Is an
Entire Ocean of
Compassion, she
said,
and no one laughed.
That Which Has
Been Present Since
Before the
Beginning,
she said, and the
room was silent.
Then, although she
hadn’t imagined it
this way,
others began to offer
names.
Peace, said one.
One My Mother
Knew, said another.
Ancestor, said a 
third.
Wind. 
Rain.
Breath, said one
near the back.
Refuge,
That Which Holds
All.
A child said, Water.
Someone said, Kuan
Yin. [a Chinese god]
Then:
Womb.
Witness.
Great Kindness.
Great Eagle.
Eternal Stillness.
And then,
there wasn’t any
need to say the
things
she’d thought would
be important to say,
and everyone sat
hushed, until
someone said
Amen.
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