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Birthday Meditation, by Grace Aguilar (1838)

https://opensiddur.org/?p=50578 Birthday Meditation, by Grace Aguilar (1838) 2023-05-06 13:48:25 "Birthday Meditation" (1838) by Grace Aguilar was published posthumously by her mother Sarah Aguilar in <em><a href="https://opensiddur.org/?p=50563">Sabbath Thoughts and Sacred Communings</a></em> (1853), pp. 130-132. Text the Open Siddur Project Aharon N. Varady (transcription) Aharon N. Varady (transcription) Grace Aguilar https://opensiddur.org/copyright-policy/ Aharon N. Varady (transcription) https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/ Bnei (Bar/Bat) Mitsvah &amp; Other Birthday Prayers 19th century C.E. תחינות teḥinot 56th century A.M. English vernacular prayer teḥinot in English
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This day have I completed my twenty-first year;
and not only do I commence another year,
but, according to many, another period,
when feelings, habits, inclinations, change:
will it be so with me?
O, blessed Lord God of Israel,
let not my religious feelings change,
save for the better;
and as to all else, Lord, do thy will.
“My times are in Thy hand;” (Psalms 31:16 part)
Thou knowest what is best for me,
and to Thine Almighty care,
without one doubt, I commit myself;
for Thou hast been merciful unto me,
O God, most merciful.
To all my prayers, imperfect,
stained with earth though they be,
Thou hast given answers.
I have never called on Thee in vain.
In the midst of tribulation,
of greater sorrow and anxiety
than it had ever before been mine to know,
I called aloud on Thee,
and not only did Thy blessed spirit
descend upon my soul,
calming with its heavenly influence
my bewildered and miserable thoughts,
but even creature-comfort Thou didst bestow on me,
when I expected it not.
Thou didst raise me up earthly friends.
My prayers for the afflicted
Thou hadst return with blessing
on my own bosom.
I looked in The Book,
and there were promises to soothe and cheer;
for I felt they came from Thee.
I have come unto Thee in all circumstances,
I have prayed for Thy blessing,
Thy guidance in all things,
and graciously hast Thou permitted me
to feel that my Father in Heaven heard
and answered me.
Thou hast removed the clouds
that overwhelmed my onward path:
Thou hast preserved unto me
all that are dear in health and life,
while so many are laid low
in suffering and bereavement.
Thou hast enabled me to cultivate Thy gifts,
and give pleasure by them to my friends.
Thou hast permitted me to improve
in the blessed knowledge of Thee and Thy Word,
to satisfy the doubting,
to give pleasure to my beloved parents.
O my God, I have prayed unceasingly
to be their blessing;
their words would say my prayer was granted;
but to Thee, to Thee alone,
be all the glory,
if I am indeed their comfort;
if the little attentions,
the affection I endeavour to shew for them,
afford them so much happiness,
O my God, it is Thy work;
permit it to continue,
enable me in the new dawning year
to be even more governed
in my conduct towards them,
permit me yet more to prove the love,
the duty I owe them both.
Let me never forget myself,
let not one impatient word,
one rebellious thought,
ever pass my lips or mind.
Thou hast blessed me in my parents, O my God;
O accept my fervent thanksgiving
for Thine abundant goodness.
Preserve them to me, Mighty Father,
permit my brothers to be their blessing and support.
I have prayed for my brothers,
and Thou hast answered me.
Father!
in vain would I enumerate the blessings
that have been mine this past year;
unceasing, unchanging they surround me,
and my praise is too dull and tame
to ascend to Heaven.
O, my God, Thou seest I feel Thy goodness,
my trust is still in Thee, Thee alone—
let it never waver.
The years of girlhood are passed,
and now more than ever
have I become a responsible being.
O guide me in the right path,
let not my foot slip,
let not my thoughts turn from Thee, my God.
My God, in Thy mercy
strengthen, purify religion within me:
O Thou knowest how I dread a change,
that I may forget Thee,
and that the good feelings of former years
may fall away and die.
Many have been the sins of the past year,
yet religion has remained
the mainspring of my every thought,
and permitted me to be
more contented than in either of the former years.
I have thought more of Thee,
I have loved Thee more;
O let me love Thee more and more,
that, when the hour of trial comes,
I may fly to Thee for refuge;
guard me from sin.
Thou knowest if suffering be best,
and, if it be, O teach me how to meet it.
Let me on my next birthday feel I have drawn nearer Thee,
that my spirit is quickened, my devotion warmer.
Whatever may befall me in the newly-dawning year,
permit it to tend to the improvement of religion within me.
Let me still trust in Thee,
let me still rest securely on Thy loving mercy;
and, if death be my portion
ere I behold the close of another year,
Almighty Father, do Thou, in Thine infinite mercy,
soften the mental terrors,
the bodily anguish of a death-bed,
and take me to Thyself.
“I have trusted in the Lord,
and therefore I shall not fall;” (Cf. Psalms 26:1 part)
“I called upon Him,
and He answered me.” (Psalms 120:1 part)
“Blessed be the name of the Lord God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting!” (Psalms 106:48 part, I Chronicles 13:36 part)
Amen.

“Birthday Meditation” (1838) by Grace Aguilar was published posthumously by her mother Sarah Aguilar in Sabbath Thoughts and Sacred Communings (1853), pp. 130-132. In Essays and Miscellanies (1853) the prayer appears on pages 215-218. In 1838, Grace Aguilar was twenty-two years old and had experienced unspecified life-threatening illnesses in her own life, and in the care of close relatives.

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