As I teenager I pondered the life of a nun - I longed to be in a safe, prayer-filled place. I devoured the Starbridge novels by Susan Howatch and Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose. But I was self-aware enough to know I longed to be a mother even more than I wanted to be a nun!
I can't remember where I got this wee handmade journal, but it seemed to be the perfect place to gather favourite poems and prayers and psalms... The first few pages included a bookplate and lovely mediaeval-style illustrations, so I continued the pattern of an image and a prayer/poem. It's only A6 size, which is quite hard for me to write in, but I can read my scrawl, so that's all that matters!
I began by writing out my favourite passages from my christening Book of Common Prayer - strange to think this is almost as old as I am... It's weathered much better than I (certainly needed my reading glasses to read the tiny print!)
The first piece is the Magnificat - a lifelong favourite, I can recite from memory - I remember reading it in many a Carol Service. I was never pretty enough to play Mary in the school nativity play, but I always had a good reading voice.
My soul doth magnify the Lord,
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded the lowliness of his handmaiden.
For behold, from henceforth, all generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty hath magnified me,
And holy is his Name.
And his mercy is on them that fear him throughout all generations.
He hath shewed strength with his arm,
he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat,
and hath exalted the humble and meek.
He hath filled the hungry with good things
and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel.
As he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed forever.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be,
world without end. Amen.
I can't pretend to have always known what the words mean, having first read it aged 5 years old. But I do remember always liking the fact that God: 'hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble and meek' - I instinctively responded to the radical nature of the message, the 'upsidedown-ness' of the politics...
I intend to share each page of this wee book, and share a little of why I chose to include these particular pieces. I shall gather each post on the page Book of Comfort :)