I am now about to close my eyelids, Lord,
For my eyes this evening have finished their work,
And my vagrant glances will return home,
Having stalled for a day in the market place.
Thank you, Lord, for my eyes, windows open on the wide world;
Thank you for their look that carries my soul as the broad sunbeam carries the light and warmth of your sun.
I pray to you, during the night, that tomorrow, when I open my eyes to the clear morning,
Tbey shall be ready to serve both my soul and my God.
May my eyes be clear and straightforward, Lord, and give others a hunger for purity;
May my look never be one of disappointment,
But may it know how to admire,
May my eyes learn to close in order to find you more easily;
But may they never turn away from the world because they are afraid.
May my eyes be penetrating enough to recognize Your presence in the world,
And may they never shut on the afflictions of men.
May my eyes be firm and steady,
But may they also know how to soften in pity and be capable of tears.
May my gaze not soil the one it touches,
May it not disturb, but may it bring peace.
May it not sadden, but rather may it transmit joy.
May it not attract in order to hold captive,
But rather may it persuade others to rise above themselves to you.
May my eyes disquiet the sinner because in them he will see your light,
But may their reproach lead to encouragement.
Grant that my eyes may be startling because they are an encounter, an encounter with God.
Grant that they be a call,
a loud clear call
that brings the world to its doorstep,
Not because of me, Lord,
But because you are to pass by.
That my eyes may be all this, Lord,
Once more, this evening,
I give you my soul,
I give you my body,
I give you my eyes,
That when they look at men, my brothers,
It may be you who look at them
And you who beckon.
From “Prayers” – translated and first published in 1954 – most recently published in 1999 by Sheen and Ward