Lord, I saw the sea attacking the rocks, sombre and raging.
From afar the waves gained momentum.
High and proud, they leapt, jostling one another
to be the first to strike.
When the white foam drew back, leaving the rock clear,
they gathered themselves together to rush forward again.
The other day I saw the sea, calm and serene.
The waves came from afar, creeping, not to draw attention.
Quietly holding hands, they slipped noiselessly
and stretched at full length on the sand,
to touch the shore with the tips of their beautiful soft fingers.
The sea gently caressed them,
and they generously returned streams of light.
Lord, grant that I may avoid useless quarrels
that tire and wound without achieving results.
Keep me from these angry outbursts that draw attention
but leave one uselessly weakened.
Keep me from wanting always to outstrip others in my conceit,
crushing those in my way.
Wipe from my face the look of dark, dominating anger.
Rather, Lord, grant that I may live my days calmly and fully,
as the sea slowly covers the whole shore.
Make me humble like the sea, as silently and gently,
it spreads out unnoticed.
May I wait for my brothers and match my pace to theirs,
that I may move upward with them.
Grant me the triumphant perseverance of the waters.
May each of my retreats turn into an advance.
Give my face the light of clear waters.
Give my soul the whiteness of foam.
Illumine my life that it may sing like sunbeams
on the surface of the sea.
But above all, Lord, may I not keep this light for myself,
and may all those who come near me return home
eager to bathe in your eternal grace.
Michel Quoist,1918 – 1997, French Catholic priest and writer
A fool gives full vent to his spirit,
but a wise man quietly holds it back.