While perusing the church library the other day at Judson Memorial Baptist Church I found a title that intrigued me: Prayers for the Domestic Church by Edward Hays.
It emerged from the 1970s Catholic movement of prayers and blessings for home life, i.e. the Domestic Church. In this book there are all kinds of neat and interesting prayers/blessings: for pets, for before meals, for seeds and even the "wedding bed". Sure enough there was even a prayer for the purchase of a new automobile. One could pray for a mutual enjoyment intercourse, a tasty meal, playful pets, and the new car smell but, no prayers for bicyclists.
In my morning prayers I pray for my family, my church, friends and bicyclists in the Twin Cities (although I feel my prayers reach family in WV, I feel my prayers have no effect for bicyclists in Albert Lea or Duluth). Most mornings before I start pedaling I will pray for a safe journey (recall one child and my spouse have both been hit by automobiles, one child went over the handlebars, one child wiped out, and yours truly has gone down on numerous occasions). This morning practice, coupled with the absent of a prayer for bicyclists caused me to write a prayer for bicyclists to pray before they cycle.
But we can't just jump to the prayer...Reader, did you know there was a patron saint of bicyclists? The Madonna Del Ghisallo.
Pope Pius the XII on October 13, 1949 deemed her the patroness of bicyclists. St. Stephens Episcopal Church in Portland, OR has a shrine to her (the only one in the US?) I think a certain Baptist Church in south Minneapolis, MN needs one too!
So here is a first attempt prayer written to the Madonna Del Ghisallo for all bicyclists.
Madonna Del Ghisallo,
Protector of all bicyclists,
you watched in agony
as your Son suffered a cruel and lonely death;
knowing too well the experience
of pathos, I pray you will keep
me safe and all others who pedal today.
May drivers be focused and not distracted,
for they are controlling 2,000lbs vehicles.
May folk look before opening car doors.
May there be three feet between me and other cars.
When I swerve to avoid a pothole,
may I not swerve into danger.
May all the nuts and bolts hold tight.
May my brake pads grip.
May my wheels turn true.
May I arrive safe and not too sweaty.
May daredevil squirrels be kept away...
Mother of God accompany us
help us to be ambassadors of peace and love and justice
fill us with joy
and let us be signs of your healing grace.