Category Archives: prayer

The Prayer of a Desperate Man: Some Psalms and a Bottle of Coke

The Jacson-4

Last May, Harrison Okene, the Nigerian cook aboard the tug Jacson-4, was rescued from 30 meters below the Atlantic after spending almost three days in an air pocket aboard the ship which had overturned and capsized.  His 11 fellow crew mates perished.

I won’t repeat all the details here, but you can read the whole story here in the Telegraph and you can watch a few minutes of the dramatic rescue video below.

According to reports, Mr. Okene survived in the air pocket with only a bottle of Coke, his wits, and by praying some Psalms that his wife had texted him the night before the tug sank.  Verses from Psalms 54 through 92.

I don’t know exactly which verses Mr. Okene read, or rather prayed, but maybe one of them was:

Save me, O God!
For the waters have come up to my neck.
I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold;
I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me.  Psalm 69:1-2 (Vg. 68)

As you might suspect, many other news outlets, including the Huffington Post and the BBC, also reported on this story, but made no mention of the Psalms.  No surprise there.

Now, here’s the rescue:

The Suscipe of St. Ignatius of Loyola

Here’s another prayer that makes me uncomfortable – and that’s a good thing.  I’m starting to use it after receiving Holy Communion.

Suscipe (St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus)

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.

You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.

Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace.
That is enough for me.


The Navarre Bible and Commentary

I finally found a scriptural resource for daily meditation that has just the right mix of scholarship and devotion:  The Navarre Bible.  This text, published by Scepter Publishers, an outreach of the The Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei, footnotes just about every passage with not only historical notes and contextual information, but also with appropriate quotations from the Church Fathers and the Doctors of the Church.  And St. Escriva, of course.

The biblical text uses the Revised Standard Version – Catholic Edition (RSV-CE) and the commentary was written by members of the Faculty of Theology at the University of Navarre.  The Latin translation of the scriptural verses from the New Vulgate is also provided.