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Tonight I add a fourth chapter to prayer.
I pray first for the ministries of priests
who serve me at our sacramental feasts
and showed a way back from my black despair.

I pray next for the sick, for I am one,
an aging man with badly injured shoulder
who hopped so nimbly once boulder to boulder,
though thank God I can still shoulder a gun.

Third, for my worthy friends who knew not God,
I hope they’ve passed the Gates. Arriving thence
may they behold Christ’s radiant countenance.
Ogling the angels may they all be awed.

Fourth, I shall pray that every farmer thrives,
beginning with the five audacious Millers,
masterful farmers all and skillful tillers
of land the Lord leases them for their lives.

As usual I route these prayers through Mary.
This death sentence I have received from cancer
to which doctors and shamans have no answer
is a small, final cross that I must carry.

Each of us has a rough-shod race to run.
Care for us, Lord, and let Thy will be done.

—Tim Murphy