people holding hands

One nation under God, indivisible

This momentous week – the inauguration of new leadership and the observance of a day dedicated to the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – offers us an opportunity to consider how we might begin to heal our divided nation. As the following friars suggest, we can start by examining our own attitudes.

Praying for grace

Lord Jesus Christ, we praise and thank you for this day, for our lives, for our country, and for all the peoples on this earth. We thank you for the gifts and opportunities you have given to each of us. We thank you for the vast natural resources you have given to our country. 

We thank you for our traditions of personal freedom, for the dignity you give to every individual, and for the diversity of our ancestors, races, and ethnic identities. We are all your children, your sons and daughters.

We pray for a new heart and a new spirit in our country. We pray for a healing of the animosity and divisions caused by hatred, greed, violence, racism, competition, and the desire for power over others.  We pray for a new spirit of collaboration and cooperation in seeking the common good. We pray for the grace to see the good in every person and to value every individual.

We pray for our leaders that they may become instruments of your peace.  We pray for all of the gifts of your Holy Spirit which we so desperately need.  We ask all of this through Jesus your Beloved Son and our brother. 

Amen

–Max Langenderfer, OFM

Gospel example

My prayer is that all men and women of good will stand up to Gospel principles of love of God and neighbor by their good example, and strive to bring all to peace and justice in our country and throughout the whole world. With God’s grace, this will come about. Amen
–Dominic Lococo, OFM

Acceptance

Don’t act like you are God; let people have different ideas than you and still live peacefully and happy together. Living peacefully with and forgiving people who have different ideas than you really makes for a happy life! Amen
–Bryant Hausfeld, OFM

Meaning and hope

I believe that God’s love story is the deepest story of meaning and hope in our lives.

I believe this ever “New Story” continues to call us forward into wider and wider circles of compassion, justice, acceptance, and communion.

I believe this story of hope is energized in us through the Holy Spirit with each new day and moment.

I trust that the fruits and gifts of the Holy Spirit in each of us and in all of us joined together are stronger than the hate, division, darkness, and greed that flashes around us at times.

I believe that Jesus, who has made this “New Story” of God real and true, invites you and me to enflesh this goodness, truth, and beauty for all of creation.

Let us shine then with joy, hope, dedication, courage, and creativity.

Peace, my brothers and sisters.

–Henry Beck, OFM

Doing my part

Once I came to accept that initially the only person and situation I can change is myself and mine, I now believe that any prayer I make is ultimately about my growing in and deepening my friendship with God. In this time of civil conflict and the ongoing harassment by Covid-19, I pray that I may be a player in the solution and not a participant in the problems. Lord, in my ignorance, make me less opinionated and judgmental, and strengthen me to be more attentive to the sufferings and wounds of those who use violence to secure and affirm their personal identities. Inspire me, Lord, to place a smile on my face even when there is fear and frustration in my heart. Enlighten me, Lord, so that I can be a light for others.
–Dennet Jung, OFM

Stronger together

Rozanne’s Prayer: I put my hand in yours, and together we can do what we could never do alone. No longer is there a sense of hopelessness, no longer must we each depend upon our own unsteady willpower. We are all together now, reaching out our hands for power and strength greater than ours, and as we join hands, we find love and understanding beyond our wildest dreams.

Serenity Prayer: God grant me the serenity to Accept the things I cannot change; Courage to change the things I can; And the Wisdom to know the difference.

–David Crank, OFM

Two gifts

Lord Jesus, in the midst of turmoil, violence and hatred, I ask for myself and my sisters and brothers two gifts: true respect for the human person, and a profound reverence for the corporality of that person. Humbly and in gratitude may we kneel before the work of your hands.
–Mike Chowning, OFM

Show us the way

Friend, how did we drift apart?
The phone calls, texts, emails – suddenly stopped.
What did we do wrong?
My favorite color, Blue; yours, Red. Is this the reason?

C’mon people now
Smile on your brother (sister)
Everybody get together
Try to love one another right now**

Does this 1967 song have a message for us today?
Do we need to smile more?
Get together rather than stay apart?
Try, at least, to love one another?
Yes, we do.
Not tomorrow, but right now.

Dear God,
Help me to let go of all that divides me from others.
Teach me to love as you “are love.”
Give me the humility, courage, to forgive
To invite others (back) into my life.

God, together we can become one.
Guide us. Show us the way. Teach us how to live.
With grateful hearts, for what will be, Thank you.

AMEN.

–Scott Obrecht, OFM

**From Get Together by The Youngbloods; see Brother

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