Sunday, April 13, 2003

A Lord's Prayer for Justice

A Lord's Prayer for Justice (OFM Capuchin of Ireland)

In our scheme of things, survival of the fittest is the rule. In God’s scheme, survival of the weakest is the rule. God always stands on the side of the weak, and it is there – among the weak – we find God!

Our Father.
Who always stands with the weak, the powerless, the poor, the abandoned. This is the insight of the saints.

Who art in heaven.
Where everything will be reversed, upside down, where the first will be last, and the last will be first.

Hallowed be Thy Name.
May we acknowledge your holiness; your ways are not our ways.

Your Kingdom come.
Help us to create a world where we will walk justly, speak tenderly, and walk humbly with you and with each other.

Your will be done.
Open our freedom to let you in, so the complete mutuality that characterizes your life may flow through our veins.

On earth as in heaven.
May the work of our hands reflect the justice of heaven.

Life and love to us, and help us always to see everything as a gift. Help us to know nothing comes to us by rights, and that we must give because we have been given to.

The truly plural ‘us’. Give, not just to our own, but to everyone including those who are very different from the narrow ‘us’.

This day.
Not tomorrow. Do not let us put things off into some indefinite future, so that we can continue to live justified lives in the face of injustice.

Our daily bread.
So each person in the world may have clean air, pure water, enough food, health care, access to education, and so have the basis of a healthy life.

And forgive us our trespasses.
Forgive us our blindness towards our neighbor, our obsessive preoccupation, our racism. Forgive us our capacity to watch the evening news and do nothing about it.

As we forgive those who trespass.
Help us to forgive those who victimize us. Help us to mellow our spirit, to not grow bitter with age, to forgive the imperfect parents, the family or the community that wounded us.

And do not put us to the test.
Do not judge only by whether we have fed the hungry, given clothes to the naked, visited the sick, or tried to mend the systems that victimized the poor. Spare us this test, for none of us can stand before this gospel scrutiny. Give us instead more days to mend our ways, our selfishness and our systems.

But deliver us from evil.
Deliver us from the blindness that lets us continue to participate in anonymous systems within which we need not see who gets less as we get more.


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