Opening Prayers from the Meetings of the
Xavier University President's Cabinet
A prayer for Women's History Month
We remember that March is Women's History Month.
Thank you for all the cherished women in our lives and in our histories: mothers, sisters, friends and neighbors.
God, may women across the globe continue to be empowered, knowing the love you offer.
Offered by Debra Mooney
Written by Sojourners
A Prayer for Black History Month
Lord, Lord, Open Unto Me
Open unto to me—courage for my fear
Open unto me—hope for my despair
Open unto me—peace for my turmoil
Open unto to me—joy for my sorrow
Open unto me—strength for my weakness
Open unto to me—wisdom for my confusion
Open unto me—forgiveness for my sins
Open unto me—tenderness for my toughness
Open unto me—love for my hates
Open unto to me—Thy Self for myself
Lord, Lord, open unto me!
Offered by Janice Walker
Written by Howard Thurman, From Meditations of the Heart
Thurman who was born in 1899 and raised in the segregated South. He is recognized as one of the great spiritual leaders of the 20th century renowned for his reflections on humanity and our relationship with God. Thurman was a prolific author (writing at least 20 books); perhaps the most famous is Jesus and the Disinherited (1949), which deeply influenced Martin Luther King, Jr. and other leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. Thurman was the first black person to be a tenured Dean at a PWI (Boston U). He also cofounded the first interracially pastored, intercultural church in the US.
I give this day to You.
May my mind stay centered on the things of spirit.
May I not b tempted to stray from love.
As I begin this day, I open to receive You.
Please enter where You already abide.
May my mind and heart be pure and true, and may I not deviate from the things of goodness.
May I see the love and innocence in all mankind, behind the masks we all wear and the illusions of this worldly plane.
I surrender to You my doings this day
I ask only that they serve Youand the healing of the world.
May I bring Your love and goodness with me, to give unto otherss wherever I go.
Make me the person You would have me be.
Direct my footsteps, and show me what You would have me do.
Make the world a safer, more beautiful place.
Bless all Your creatures.
Healy us all, and use me, dear Lord, that I might know the joy of being used by You.
Written by Mariane Williamson from Illuminata
Offered by Brian Till
God of peace and justice, help us to change,
So that we work for a world that mirrors Your Wisdom.
Give us the desire to act in solidarity,
So that the pillars of injustice crumble
And those now crushed are set free.
A Prayer for Schools at http://jesuitinstitute.org/Pages/Prayers.htm
Offered by Terri Richards
We're gathered here to bask in your beauty and reflect on your place in our lives. Too often we forget how you feed us, whisper in our ears, and sprinkle our sleep with dreams. Help us to remember that through you we are all joyfully connected.
We pray for your presence among us. Our burdens can be great, and we feel alone. Our burdens can be great, and we feel alone. Our hands have not felt the touch or another, and our hearts long for reconciliation, compassion and understanding.
Now, on this day, we open our hearts to you and to one another. We breathe in your love, and feel that we are worthy of love. We feel your touch, and know that we are touched. We pray for the well-being of all creatures on earth, for your spirit lives within, and connects us all. Thank you for the many gifts and blessings in our lives. As we give love, may we also receive love. Amen.
Adapted from a prayer from Sharon Dittmar published in For Praying Out Loud, by L. Ann Forester
Offered by Shari Mickey-Boggs
It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.
The kingdom's beyond our efforts, beyond our vision.
We accomplish in a life a tiny fraction of the Lord's work.
Nothing we do is complete; the kingdom always lies beyond us.
We are workers, not master builders.
We are ministers, not Messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.
No statement says all that should be said,
no prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection; no pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program can accomplish our mission,
no set of goals and objectives includes everything.
We can't do everything, and there's freedom in knowing that,
but we can do something and do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but that's the difference between
the Master Builder and the worker.
This is what we are all about:
we plant the seeds that will one day grow.
We water seeds already there for the future they promise;
we lay foundations that will need to be further developed.
We're the yeast that produces effects far beyond our capabilities.
Prayer of Archbishop Oscar Romero, adaptation by Tom Franzak
Offered by Gary Massa
A New Serenity Prayer
God, grant me the serenity
to accept the people I cannot change,
which is pretty much everyone,
since I’m clearly not you, God.
At least not the last time I checked.
And while you’re at it, God,
please give me the courage
to change what I need to change about myself,
which is frankly a lot, since, once again,
I’m not you, which means I’m not perfect.
It’s better for me to focus on changing myself
than to worry about changing other people,
who, as you’ll no doubt remember me saying,
I can’t change anyway.
Finally, give me the wisdom to just shut up
whenever I think that I’m clearly smarter
than everyone else in the room,
that no one knows what they’re talking about except me,
or that I alone have all the answers.
grant me the wisdom
to remember that I’m
Offered by Annette Marksberry
Written by James Martin SJ
We come to you first with a spirit of thanksgiving. We thank you for your graces and mercies that teach us how we should be with others.
We thank you for the cloudy days in life, as we know the rain that may come will nourish the seeds of life in hopes that those seed will produce fruit to glorify You.
And we thank you for the opportunity to gather together on this day, at this meeting to listen, connect, learn and share with one another.
We ask that you allow your spirit to be present with us and through us as we reflect on the past, discuss the present and plan for our future.
We ask that your spirit allow us to seek to understand and then to be understood as we dialogue and fellowship.
We ask that you bless the facilitators of our gathering that their words and activities allow us to gain and give knowledge and understanding.
Finally, because we know you are a God that hears and heals all, we ask for a global blessing for our community at Xavier, in Cincinnati, our country and the world.
A blessing of peace and healing. That your spirit will comfort those who are hurting – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
We thank you for allowing us this sacred time with you, Lord God. To the one who is before all things, and in You all things hold together, we ask for these blessings and we give you praise in advance for them.
In Your name we prayer, Amen
Offered by Lori Johnson
Written by Jonika Moore Diggs
Personal Prayer of Pedro Arrupe SJ
Grant me, O Lord, to see everything now with new eyes,
to discern and test the spirits
that help me read the signs of the times,
to relish the things that are yours, and to communicate them to others.
Give me the clarity of understanding that you gave Ignatius.
Offered by John Kucia
Bring More of What I Dream
O God, who out of nothing brought everything that is,
out of what I am bring more of what I dream but haven’t dared;
direct my power and passion to creating life where there is death,
to putting flesh of action on bare-boned intentions,
to lighting fires against the midnight of indifference,
to throwing bridges of care across canyons of loneliness;
so that I can look on creation, together with you,
and, behold, call it very good;
through Jesus Christ My Lord.
Offered by Dave Johnson
Written Ted Loder in Guerrillas of Grace
God of our ancestors, Lord of mercy, who by your word have made the universe,
and in your wisdom have fitted human beings to rule the creatures that you have made,
to govern the world in holiness and saving justice and in honesty of soul to dispense fair judgment,
grant me Wisdom, consort of your throne, and do not reject me from the number of your children.
For I am your servant, son of your serving maid, a feeble man, with little time to live,
with small understanding of justice and the laws. Indeed, were anyone perfect among the sons of men,
if he lacked the Wisdom that comes from you, he would still count for nothing.
'You have chosen me to be king over your people, to be judge of your sons and daughters.
You have bidden me build a temple on your holy mountain, and an altar in the city where you have pitched
your tent, a copy of the holy Tent which you prepared at the beginning.
With you is Wisdom, she who knows your works, she who was present when you made the world;
she understands what is pleasing in your eyes and what agrees with your commandments.
Dispatch her from the holy heavens, send her forth from your throne of glory to help me and to toil with me
and teach me what is pleasing to you; since she knows and understands everything she will guide me
prudently in my actions and will protect me with her glory. Then all I do will be acceptable,
I shall govern your people justly and be worthy of my father's throne.
'What human being indeed can know the intentions of God? And who can comprehend the will of the Lord?
For the reasoning of mortals is inadequate, our attitudes of mind unstable; for a perishable body presses
down the soul, and this tent of clay weighs down the mind with its many cares. It is hard enough for us to
work out what is on earth, laborious to know what lies within our reach;
who, then, can discover what is in the heavens? And who could ever have known your will,
had you not given Wisdom and sent your holy Spirit from above?
Thus have the paths of those on earth been straightened and people have been taught what pleases you,
and have been saved, by Wisdom.
Book of Wisdom, Chapter 9
Offered by Steve Herbert
Written and offered by Brian Till
Spirit of the Universe,
Allow us to honor this time together.
Infuse us with universal wisdom,
with compassion for each other.
Guide us as we collectively work
for the best that Xavier can be
out of our commitment to
Xavier’s students, employees and alums.
Open Mindedness and Diversity
We ask for your guidance and direction as we come together to meet.
Grant us the strength to manage the challenges ahead and the wisdom to identify these as opportunities as we strive to serve the members of the Xavier University community.
As we make decisions on behalf of the University, grant us the gift of an open mind, the willingness to learn, and the humility to accept the ideas of others.
Please help us to recognize diversity as a blessing and unity as our strength.
Offered by Bob Sheeran
Adapted from a prayer offered by Tim Brooks of St. Louis University
You provide for the lilies of the field
And the birds of the air.
And you promise to take care of us,
Even when our faith is small.
Bless us as we examine the use of your gifts
And seek to use them fairly, honestly, prudently
To better our University
And meet the needs of our students, faculty, staff and administrators.
During this time of deliberation
As we estimate our needs
And allocate our resources,
May we remember that we are doing your work, not our own.
May we see this meeting time as a way of serving you.
May all that we do and are
Give you praise
And be for your honor and glory.
Offered by Rob MunsonWritten by Mary Flick, formerly at St Louis University
Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability--
and that it may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually--let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue
Don't try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
will make of you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.
Offered and adapted by Shari Mickey-Boggs
Written by Pierre Teilhard De Chardin
A Prayer on Organizational Change
We gather here today knowing that in the weeks ahead, there will be changes in our organization that will challenge us and new grace that will sustain us and move us forward.
We recall the words of the cardinal of the church, John Henry Newman: "Perhaps in heaven it will be otherwise, but on this earth, to live is to change and to be perfect is to have changed often."
Let us pray today for the gift of being able to recognize the changes that are needed in our organization; the gift of being able to discover the opportunities that lay before us that we had never seen before, and the gift of being able to welcome and embrace these opportunities with courage.
God, we place ourselves into your keeping,
our bodies, our souls, and all that we are,
for you are our help, you are our hope,
you are our highest praise.
Write our names upon your palm,
hold us near your side,
for by your wounds, we shall be healed.
And in your hands, we are home,
where all will be well.
All will be well in you. (based on -Is 40:12)
Gracious God, we ask you to draw near and be with us.
Help us as individuals and as an association to become who we say we are—to be the women and men you have called us to be, keeping before us always the implications of our ideas for the real, living persons that our association is comprised of and the real, living persons that our association serves.
We invite you into this gathering and ask that everything we do here be for the glory of your name.Amen.
Offered by Mark MeyersFrom from the Catholic Health Association of the United States
Prayer for a Successful Strategic Plan
We pray to you, our God, for a successful strategic plan. We pray for an infectious enthusiasm for the future of our University; for wisdom as we gather and make decisions about University directions; for unity as we seek consensus on what You desire for our University; for necessary trust and openness to Your truth for Xavier. Help us, we pray, to listen to one another and to hear the many voices of our University. Endow us with your creative spirit that we may find ways to accomplish Your mission at Xavier. May God – the creative Father, the compassionate Son, and the inspiring Spirit – bless us in our planning. Amen.
Offered by Annette Marksberry
A modified version from Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church
Dear Lord as those entrusted with leading this great Xavier University ….
Please help each of us become Leaders in Balance and realize the importance and impact of our way of thinking and our way of being … because leaders are built from the inside out: help us approach leadership as a relationship not a position; help us understand that each of us embodies Xavier’s brand promise, our values and principles; and that each of us must maintain our focus on a higher purpose – Xavier’s mission; Lord, help us learn better how collaboration with a purpose can enable us to reach better decisions and to execute our decisions better; and to that end, Lord, help each of us think “outside the pyramid” in order to share power and authority; help us realize that teaching and leadership have much in common; and that at the center of collaboration is a true comfort and sincere valuing of diversity of people, ideas and ways of thinking; and finally, Lord, help us all understand during these difficult times that the challenge of leading change at Xavier University is not about leadership in control, but leadership in balance … and so we embrace a new appreciation for the value of nurturing “the gene of collaboration” in the DNA of all Xavier leaders … deep into our organization.
We make this prayer not alone, but together … for Together there is Power.
Offered and written by John Kucia
Let us express our gratitude:
For the opportunity to serve Xavier University and its mission
For the gifts that we have that enable us to make a difference in the lives of our students
For the chance to do something very special and meaningful with our lives/careers
Let us ask our Heavenly Father to:
Help us to embrace the challenge and responsibility we have as leaders
To guide us to lead with integrity and common sense
Give us the wisdom to make intelligent decisions
Give us the courage to make tough decisions
Give us the character to make right decisions
Finally, help us to always be welcoming, inclusive and open because of our Jesuit Catholic identity without compromising our Jesuit Catholic tradition and heritage.
Offered by Gary Massa
I Praise You For What Is Yet to Be
Wondrous Workers of Wonders,
I praise you, not alone for what has been,
or for what is,
but for what is yet to be...
I praise you
that out of the turbulence of our lives
a kingdom is coming...
is being shaped even now
out of our slivers of loving,
our bits of trusting,
our sprigs of hoping,
our tootles of laughing,
our drips of crying,
our smidgens of worshipping;
that out of our songs and struggles,
out of our griefs and triumphs,
we are gathered up and saved,
for you are gracious
We praise you
that you turn us loose
to go with you to the edge of now and maybe,
to welcome the new,
to see our possibilities,
to accept our limits,
and yet begin living to the limit
of passion and compassion
until, released by joy,
we open to other people
and to your kingdom coming,
Our Potential is proof that you are gracious.
Offered by Dave Johnson
Prayer by Ted Loder, Guerrillas of Grace
"...It was human love that helped me to understand divine love. Human love at its best, unselfish, glowing, illuminating our days, gives us a glimpse of the love of God for man. Love is the best thing we can know in this life, but it must be sustained by an effort of the will. It must lie still and quiet, dull and smoldering, for periods. It grows through suffering and patience and compassion. We must suffer for those we love, we must endure their trials and their suffering, we must even take upon ourselves the penalties due their sins. Thus we learn to understand the love of God for His creatures. Thus we understand the Crucifixion."
Offered by Lori Johnson A prayer card of Dorothy Day
The Spirit to Know You
Gracious and Holy Father,
Please give me:
intellect to understand you,
reason to discern you,
diligence to seek you,
wisdom to find you,
a spirit to know you,
a heart to meditate upon you,
ears to hear you,
eyes to see you,
a tounge to proclaim you,
a way of life pleasing you,
patience to wait for you
and perseverence to look for you.
Grant me a perfect end,
your holy presence,
a blessed resurrection
and life everlasting.
Offered by Steve Herbert
Written by St. Benedict of Nursia
"I do dimly perceive that while everything around me is ever changing, ever dying there is underlying all that change a living power that is changeless, that holds all together; that creates, dissolves and recreates. For I can see that in the midst of death life persists; in the midst of untruth, truth persists in the midst of darkness light persists."
Offered by Joe Feldhaus Written by Mahatma Gandhi
Great Spirit Prayer
Oh, Great Spirit
Whose voice I hear in the winds
and whose breath gives life to all the world.
Hear me! I need your strength and wisdom.
Let me walk in beauty, and make my eyes
ever hold the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have made
and my ears sharp to hear your voice.
Make me wise so that I may understand
the things you have taught my people.
Let me learn the lessons you have hidden
in every leaf and rock.
Help me remain calm and strong in the
face of all that comes towards me.
Help me find compassion without
empathy overwhelming me.
I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother,
but to fight my greatest enemy: myself.
Make me always ready to come to you
with clean hands and straight eyes.
So when life fades, as the fading sunset,
my spirit may come to you without shame.
Offered by Janice Walker
Also offered by Lynda KilbourneTranslated by Lakota Sioux Chief Yellow Lark in 1887
Bless us Spirit of the Universe. Grant us compassion as we work together, clarity of thought as we make decisions, and patience as we seek to understand each other. Thank you for this opportunity to be together in community and surrounding us with love and warmth. Amen.
Written and Offered by Brian Till
The Metta Prayer
The Buddha gave a beautiful teaching on the development of lovingkindness called the Metta Sutta (also known as the Karaniya Metta Sutta). The following is an adaption of the words of the sutta to formulate them as an aspiration that can be repeated in a prayer-like way.
In order that I may be skilled in discerning what is good, in order that I may understand the path to peace,
Let me be able, upright, and straightforward, of good speech, gentle, and free from pride;
Let me be contented, easily satisfied, having few duties, living simply, of controlled senses, prudent, without pride and without attachment to nation, race, or other groups.
Let me not do the slightest thing for which the wise might rebuke me. Instead let me think:
“May all beings be well and safe, may they be at ease.
Whatever living beings there may be, whether moving or standing still, without exception, whether large,
great, middling, or small, whether tiny or substantial,
Whether seen or unseen, whether living near or far,
Born or unborn; may all beings be happy.
Let none deceive or despise another anywhere. Let none wish harm to another, in anger or in hate.”
Just as a mother would guard her child, her only child, with her own life, even so let me cultivate a boundless mind for all beings in the world.
Let me cultivate a boundless love for all beings in the world, above, below, and across, unhindered, without ill will or enmity.
Standing, walking, seated, or lying down, free from torpor, let me as far as possible fix my attention on this recollection. Let us see the divine life, right here, right now.
Offered by Scott Chadwick
Translated and adapted by Bodhipaksa from the Pali Metta Sutta. Original posting can be found here
Lord, God, we gather together unified in Your name this morning seeking guidance, wisdom, and support as we reflect on past accomplishments of the division and look ahead to working together to promote a brighter future for the University. Lord, grant us courage, boldness, and discernment as we engage in meaningful discussion in an effort to grow closer as a campus community.
Guide our minds and hearts throughout the year so that we work for the good of our community and help all Your people. Fill us with the grace of the Spirit and continue to remind us that all that we do and accomplish is for the pursuit of truth for the greater glory of You, and for the service of humanity. Help us to grow in peace and understanding with one another.
Lord, we thank You for the blessings that you have bestowed upon Xavier University and its employees. Help us to realize how thankful we are to be working at such a wonderful institution, and that God’s presence accompanies us each day of our career.
In closing, bless our families, friends, and coworkers with the gifts of kindness, patience, love, and respect. Give us the grace to share these gifts. Empower us to enjoy the second half of this summer, whether at work or on vacation, before welcoming the students back at the end of August, as You lead all of us through a successful academic year.
Lord, we bring before you these prayers and the prayers that we hold silently in our hearts. We ask all of this in God’s name. Amen.
Offered by Beth Amyot Written by Allen Zernich
Good and Loving God,
We thank you for creating the world in all its beauty.
We thank you for memory, which enables us to build on the experiences of the past;
for imagination, which admits us to a wider world than we could otherwise know;
and for foresight, by which we plan for the future.
Bless this unseen work that we do on behalf of Xavier’s many students who,
through their Jesuit education,
will strive to make a difference in the world.
We ask this in your name.
Offered by Bob Sheeran Written by Joe Shadle
Let us pray
Thank you for bringing us together on this beautiful day.
As we begin a new academic year,
Please guide us in our discussions and help us work collaboratively to make the best decisions
for our students and the University.
Help us to support one another for the common good.
Teach us to be generous in our outlook,
Courageous in the face of difficulty,
And wise in our decisions.
All this we ask in your name,
Written and offered by Rob Munson
Chair: Let us pray.
All: Good and loving God,
We gather this morning in your name.
The gifts of our Ignatian heritage invite us to be part of a tradition
that builds on the wisdom of the past
with a vision open to the opportunities of the future.
Bless this vital work that we do on behalf of Xavier’s students
who, through their Jesuit education,
are challenged to make a difference in the world.
Give us the grace to serve you well.
Instill in us the humility to discern your will
and the generosity to carry it out.
We ask this in your name. Amen.
Offered by Debra Mooney Written by the staff of the Center for Mission and Identity as an opening prayer for meetings of the Jesuit Identity Committee of the Board.