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Journal: A Place of Prayer

Note: This Journal entry was written on September 12th, 2001, as I walked on the Old Tokaido. Take a look at that day's Logbook for more.


A Catholic priest I used to know began every prayer with: "Let us place ourselves in the presence of God."

Prayer puts us in a different place, a different dimension. It engages our compassion, or sometimes unleashes our righteous anger.

Last night, I watched on the TV in my room the file tape--over and over--of the planes hitting the World Trade Center buildings. A friend had called to tell me about it, and I sort of joked about it. "Gosh," I said, "it looks like a movie, like Independence Day or something."

The reality hadn't sunk in.

So today, at Joshiji, I said my prayers as usual, thinking about the people who have made requests. At the end of reading my list of prayers, before I added the final chants, I folded the paper and--also as usual--made a few impromptu additions. I said, "And for the victims of the tragedy..." and before I could add "in America" I burst into uncontrollable sobbing.

By engaging myself in the work of representing others, I had opened myself to the full impact of what had happened. I don't know if my prayers help the people I pray for, but they definitely help me.

Posted September 25, 2019

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