Kyrie eleison

I love the final two paragraphs of Garret Keizer’s thoughtful essay “Does Hitchens Have a Prayer“:

So many choices, so many needs, and a life cannot be given over entirely to prayer. Bed and Bath leave so little time for Beyond. Fortunately there is an ancient petition expansive enough to cover every case I’ve mentioned and brief enough for Tweeting: Kyrie eleison, “Lord have mercy.” Lord have mercy on us who wander like sheep without a shepherd, harassed and helpless, fleeced at every turn, bleating and blogging about the existence of God and the curse of the vuvuzela and the passion of Lindsay Lohan and the sweet Christ knows what else while children starve and are blown to pieces by bombs dropped in our name, while the skies and seas and the future itself are blighted by our waste, arrogance, and frivolity. Lord have mercy on us, because on top of all that, a man in the prime of his life and at the height of his powers and in the full confidence of having hit his stride can be slapped with something like cancer of the esophagus, as any of us might likewise be slapped with brain cancer, bone cancer, colon cancer, rendering us even more stupid, spineless, and full of crap than we already are, which is not fair, or if fair, not funny at all.

Lord have mercy. It covers a multitude of sins and an even greater multitude of creatures, including poor Christopher Hitchens, poor me, and—unless you happen to be a bodhisattva or one of the Lamed vov or the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world—poor you, and even then, poor you.

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