Opening Prayers of the Meetings of the
Xavier University President's Leadership

 


2017-2018 Academic Year


 

Teach me to Listen


Teach me to listen, O God, 
to those nearest to me,
my family, my friends, my co-workers.
Help me to be aware that 
no matter what words I hear,
the message is
"Accept the person I am. Listen to me."


Teach me to listen, my caring God,
to those far from me--
the whisper of the hopeless.
the plea of the forgotten,
the cry of the anguished.

Teach me to listen, O God my Mother, 
to myself.
Help me to be less afraid
to trust the voice inside--
in the deepest part of me

Teach me to listen, Holy Spirit,
for your voice--
in busyness and in boredom, 
in certainty and in doubt,
in noise and in silence.

Teach me, Lord, to listen. Amen.

- Offered by Janice Walker
Taken from "Hearts on Fire"


May We Be Satisfied 

 

Almighty God, we ask you to bless us. 
Make us glad that we are alive, because it 
gives us a chance to love, and a chance to 
serve you and one another.

May we be satisfied with what we have, 
but never with what we are.

May we despite nothing in this world
except falsehood, meanness and injustice.

May we be governed always by our
admirations, and ever by our irritations.

May we desire nothing that belongs 
to another except their friendship and 
their understanding.

May we think kindly of our enemies,
often of our friends and daily of you
and your loving providence.
Amen.

- Offered by Gary Massa; Authored by Thomas P Kennealy, SJ

 

 

 


Remembering Others

O God, when I have food,
help me to remember the hungry;
When I have work,
help me to remember the jobless;
When I have a home,
help me to remember those who have no home at all;
When I am without pain,
help me to remember those who suffer, 
And remembering,
help me to destroy my complacency;
bestir my compassion,
and be concerned enough to help;
By word and deed,
those who cry out for what we take for granted.

- Offered by Melissa Bauman


Teach me to Listen

Teach me to listen, O God, 
to those nearest to me,
my family, my friends, my co-workers.
Help me to be aware that 
no matter what words I hear,
the message is
"Accept the person I am. Listen to me."

Teach me to listen, my caring God,
to those far from me--
the whisper of the hopeless.
the plea of the forgotten,
the cry of the anguished.

Teach me to listen, O God my Mother, 
to myself.
Help me to be less afraid
to trust the voice inside--
in the deepest part of me

Teach me to listen, Holy Spirit,
for your voice--
in busyness and in boredom, 
in certainty and in doubt,
in noise and in silence.

Teach me, Lord, to listen. Amen.

- Offered by Aaron Meis
Taken from "Hearts on Fire"


For Business Success 

Lord God, 

Thank you for granting us the opportunity to oversee the operations of this university. We trust in your wisdom as we seek to work hard to make it secure and prosperous. May good practice be the cornerstone of everything we do. Come reveal new opportunities and areas for expansion and development. Bless our place of work and give us wisdom and calm. Let the University be of great service to others, prospering through decency, honesty and respect for our colleagues and students. May we be strong and courageous, making wise decisions guided by the Holy Spirit and not afraid or discouraged. May this university grow and flourish, creating great opportunity and provision for all those educated herein.

- Written and offered by Steve Stork


Reflection on Kneeling

I was planning an autumnal prayer, but in light of the past weekend I decided to reflect on kneeling.

What is represented by Kneeling?

  • Supplication, but it seems in the history of the Church teachings, there was controversy where some thought standing was appropriate for prayer, and other insisted kneeling... a dispute that is occurring in my Parish today!
  • It renders one defenseless and unable to flee, a representation of submission.
  • Some view it as a protest, and some view it as done by sons of bitches in defiance, others see it as speech, intending to unify others around matters of social concern.
  • Some see kneeling as a start. A sprinter kneels at the blocks before starting a race; a baby kneels as a start of crawling. 

At XU, Athletics last year issued a statement about kneeling or sitting during the Anthem: "The tradition of standing during the National Anthem has become a national topic of discussion this fall. While we encourage members of the Xavier Athletics family to stand during the National Anthem, we respect it being a personal decision."

A Federal Judge in Ohio in reinstating expelled high school students who sat during the National Anthem held that forcing anyone to participate in "symbolic patriotic ceremonies" against their will was a violation of the First Amendment to US Constitution. 

Which brings me to my conclusion about kneeling:

As University Leaders we all have a Duty to call attention to injustice when we see it.

A responsibility to respect those who call injustice to our attention. 

And, we must have a commitment to develop in our students the courage to stand and salute or kneel and protest for their convictions.

Since as MLK said:
"Our lives begin to end the day we are silent about what matters."

- Written and Offered by Joe Feldhaus

 


Beauty of this Day

God our Father,
We give you thanks for the beauty of this day, for the gift of this world,
and for the gift of each other.
We especially give You thanks for the gift of our vocation to work and
serve here at Xavier University.
As we gather here at this meeting, we ask You to be with us as we
continue to reflect on our work here and seek to advance it for the good of all.
Open our eyes, that we may see what You want us to see.
Open our ears, that in our dialogue we hear what You want us to hear.
And, open our hearts, that we may feel as You feel toward those in
greatest need of our services
Bless all that we do here in this gathering; may it be a holy work done in 
Your name.
We ask this in the name of Jesus and in the power of the Spirit.

- Offered by Jeff Coleman
 


Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace!
That where there is hatred, I may bring love.
That where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness.
That where there is discord, I may bring harmony.
That where there is error, I may bring truth.
That where there is doubt, I may bring faith.
That where there is despair, I may bring hope.
That where there are shadows, I may bring light. 
That where there is sadness, I may bring joy.
Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort, than to be comforted.
To understand, than to be understood.
To love, than to be loved.
For it is by self-forgetting that one finds.
It is by forgiving that one is forgiven.
It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life.

- Saint Francis of Assisi; Offered by Janice Walker

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You, the One

You, the one
From whom on different paths
All of us have come.

To whom on different paths
All of us are going.

Make strong in our hearts what unites us;
Build bridges across all that divides us;
United make us rejoice in our diversity.
And at one in our witness to your peace,
A rainbow to your glory.

Amen.

- David Steindl-Rast OSB; Offered b Janice Walker

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Recognizing God in All Things

At the start of a new academic year, I've been thinking about rituals. Rituals have the power to bring together a community, to inculcate a sense of identity. I suspect that, as humans, we crave the sense of belonging that rituals have always provided. Think of the feeling of standing alongside 10,000 other people, nearly all dressed alike, and chanting, "Let's Go X" in the Cintas  Center. If you know that feeling, you'll understand how a particular kind of ritualized experience has become central to our communal identity at Xavier. (And I'm thankful for that).

   I'm not thinking of March quite yet, though. I'm thinking of September.  I'm looking forward to the spirit celebration next Tuesday -- the Mass of the Holy Spirit that Xavier has been celebrating since 1840 and that Jesuit schools have been celebrating, as I'm told by Brother Darrell, since 1548.

    I'm also thinking of the new ritual introduced this year at the close of Manresa: a closing ceremony in which students each signed the Student Commitment and then was "pinned" by a Manresa leader. This new ritual symbolizes our new students' entrance into the Xavier community; it signifies their commitment to uphold our standards.

    Finally, as I've been thinking of rituals, I have also reflected on the function of the opening prayers offered at Cabinet and some other meetings. Part of the power of such prayers, I believe, comes in their identity as rituals.  I am reminded of what the theologian Frederick Buechner wrote in Wishful Thinking. You may have heard someone quote his famous definition of vocation: "The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.

Here's what Buechner writes about ritual:

A wedding. A handshake. A kiss. A coronation. A parade. A dance. A meal. A graduation. A Mass.
A ritual is the performance of an intuition, the rehearsal of a dream, the playing of a game.
A sacrament is the breaking through of the sacred into the profane;
A ritual is the ceremonial acting out of the profane in order to show forth its sacredness.
A sacrament is God offering his holiness to [people];
A ritual is [people] raising up the holiness of their humanity to God.
 If I were to paraphrase Buechner, I might say:  Rituals help us to see God in all things- even meetings. Please pray with me.
O God, we thank you  for the periodic reminders you offer us to look around and to recognize you in all things, even in the most profane. We thank you for the moments in which we -- diverse individuals -- experience together a deep sense of community.
We ask you to bless the first-year students as they find themselves and their places within our community. We remember to you those in Texas recovering from a terrible storm, and those in Puerto Rico and elsewhere bracing for another.
And today we especially remember to you our country's young immigrants and their families, as they await a momentous decision about DACA and our country's immigration policy. As ever, we pray for our President and elected officials, that you may give them wisdom as they work for the common good.

- Offered by David Mengel

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The 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.

Basically, God,
grant me the wisdom
to remember that I'm
not you.

- James Martin, SJ;
Offered by Gary Massa

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The Thomas Merton Prayer

My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you
does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though
I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
 

- Thomas Merton
   Offered by Melissa Baumann

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Perfect Resignation

My God, I do not know what must come to me today.
But I am certain that nothing can happen to me
that you have not foreseen, decreed, and ordained
from all eternity.
That is sufficient for me.
I adore your impenetrable and eternal designs
to which I submit with all my heart. 
I desire, I accept them all, and I unite my sacrifice to that of Jesus Christ, my divine Savior.
I ask in his name and through his infinite merits,
patience in my trials, and perfect and entire
submission
to all that comes to me by your good pleasure.

- St. Joseph Pignatelli, SJ
    Offered by Aaron Meis

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