Søren Kierkegaard was a Danish theologian, philosopher, and writer, who was a fierce critic of the church in his day. Kierkegaard criticized anything that focused on the abstract and remained disconnected from the existential realities of individual people. So his writings often focused on calling people to “choose” and commit themselves to meaning action.
Kierkegaard died on November 11, 1855, when he was only 42. Despite dying so young, Kierkegaard’s writings have inspired countless theologians and philosophers. So, to commemorate his passing, today’s prayer comes from him.
Father in Heaven! You have loved us first,
help us never to forget that You are love
so that this sure conviction might triumph in our hearts
……over the seduction of the world,
……over the inquietude of the soul,
……over the anxiety for the future,
……over the fright of the past,
……over the distress of the moment.
But grant also that this conviction might discipline our soul
so that our heart might remain faithful and sincere
in the love which we bear to all those
whom You have commanded us to love as we love ourselves.
You have loved us first, O God, alas!
We speak of it in terms of history
as if You have only loved us first but a single time,
rather than that without ceasing You have loved us first
many things and every day and our whole life through.
When we wake up in the morning and turn our soul toward You –
You are the first – You have loved us first;
if I rise at dawn and at the same second
……turn my soul toward You in prayer,
You are there ahead of me, You have loved me first.
When I withdraw from the distractions of the day
……and turn my soul toward You,
You are the first and thus forever.
And yet we always speak ungratefully
as if You have loved us first only once.