Archive for October, 2009

Finding Our Way

October 25, 2009

. . . “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.” Matthew 12:25

Thank you Lord for those who take up the hard work of governing, and especially those who are volunteers in our cities and counties, or serve school and fire districts or on other boards and commissions.  Bless and encourage those who work for the common good and persevere in the face of great challenges.  Help free those who are caught in the vise of party partisanship and enforcement.   Save us from those who would abuse their public trust.   Mitigate the voices of paid lobbyists and partisan media, and help those who govern to hear instead the voices and needs of the governed.  Help us examine our public life and turn away from the behaviors that discourage many who are capable from serving – mockery, misstatement, false accusations, and other behaviors designed to limit debate and consolidate the power of  a faction.  Let us, both leaders and citizens, find new ways to connect, engage, and listen to each other.  Help those who would lead our communities reach across divides, focus on core needs, and move forward together, adding to their ranks as they go.  Lead us, O Lord.


A Thousand Points of Light

October 18, 2009

No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 4:12

Lord, we thank you for volunteers:  Those who teach, who clean up, who raise money, who clothe, who feed, who build, who repair, who plant, who heal, who organize, who donate, and who help in many other ways to sustain our communities.

We thank you for leaders who were not afraid to dream of a better world, and so set up infrastructures that have sustained generations of volunteers:  John Kennedy and the  Peace Corps, George H.W. Bush and his thousand points of light, Bill Clinton and AmeriCorps, and others throughout our states and cities who help connect citizens to the work that needs to be done.

As our current president promotes national days of service, let new generations and more individuals heed the call to public service.  As we work together, help us to form new relationships, strengthen the bonds of brotherhood, and re-energize our civic life.  Help us O Lord.


Charity and Truth -4

October 11, 2009

[Note: This is the final prayer in a series that reflects and quotes from the Encyclical Letter Caritas In Veritate given by Pope Benedict XVI on June 29, 2009.  Quotes from the letter are identified by paragraph number.]

And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother. 1 John 4:21

Thank you Lord, for encouragement in the form of a Nobel prize.  Encouragement for a new vision for our country — one of a world leader that respects others, seeks to rebuild relationships of trust, accepts accountability, opens new dialogues, and believes that all countries may some day live in peace.  Thank you for a president with the courage to dream and to speak out.  Thank you for his patience, calm demeanor, willingness to persevere and to forgive, and his focus on future generations.

Your love, is your “promise and our hope.Encycl. Ltr, par. 1. We are called to share that gift, to acknowledge our interdependence, to seek wisdom, to care for and about each other, and to work to establish a true sense of community with other citizens and other peoples.  Encycl. Ltr  16-20.    As we work through our current global economic and humanitarian crisis, we acknowledge that

[t]he different aspects of the crisis, its solutions, and any new development that the future may bring, are increasingly interconnected, they imply one another, they require new efforts of holistic understanding and a new humanistic synthesis. The complexity and gravity of the present economic situation rightly cause us concern, but we must adopt a realistic attitude as we take up with confidence and hope the new responsibilities to which we are called by the prospect of a world in need of profound cultural renewal, a world that needs to rediscover fundamental values on which to build a better future. The current crisis obliges us to re-plan our journey, to set ourselves new rules and to discover new forms of commitment, to build on positive experiences and to reject negative ones.  Encycl. Ltr. par. 21.

Let us heed your call for change O Lord. Harden not our hearts. Do not let the voices of doubt, denial, and denigration silence those who are seeking and working to build a better world.  Help the politics of hope and compassion overcome those of fear and domination.  Give us  peace in our lifetimes, O Lord.


Charity and Truth – 3

October 3, 2009

[Note: This prayer, like those of the last two weeks, reflects and quotes from the Encyclical Letter Caritas In Veritate given by Pope Benedict XVI on June 29, 2009.  Quotes from the letter are identified by paragraph number.]

Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Romans 12:13

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21

Lord forgive us for selfish ambition and the myth of the self made man.

The conviction that man is self-sufficient and can successfully eliminate the evil present in history by his own action alone has led him to confuse happiness and salvation with immanent forms of material prosperity and social action. . . .  In the long term, these convictions have led to economic, social and political systems that trample upon personal and social freedom, and are therefore unable to deliver the justice that they promise.  (Encycl. Ltr, par. 34)

Forgive us for times when pride replaces compassion, and fear of our own loss prevents the action that could help us all now and in the future.  Help us to practice the “ties that bind”: acceptance, caring, generosity, and mutual accountability.  Give us the political will to counter the most destructive aspects of markets and to correct their malfunctions, recognizing that

. . .  grave imbalances are produced when economic action, conceived merely as an engine for wealth creation, is detached from political action, conceived as a means for pursuing justice through redistribution. (Encycl. Ltr,  par. 36).

Give us the compassion, love, and wisdom needed to create new jobs and provide other assistance that will prevent families and children from living in poverty, unable to meet their basic needs.  Give us the faith and insight to invest in the educational institutions and scholarships needed to help all of our youth fulfill their potential.  Let us find the funds to provide basic care to all who are sick, injured or dying.

Help us to see that all we have comes from you, and that as stewards, it is our responsibility, both individually and collectively, “To act justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly” with you O God. Micah 6:8.

Give us courage, and lead us forward, O Lord.