Opening Prayers

of the Meetings of the Xavier University President's Leadership 2019-2020


A Prayer for Our Uncertain Times

May we who are merely inconvenienced remember those whose lives are at stake.

May we who have no risk factors remember those most vulnerable.

May we who have the luxury of working from home remember those who
       must choose between preserving their health and making their rent.

May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close remember those who have no options.

May we who have to cancel our trips remember those who have no safe place to go.

May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic
        market remember those who have no margin at all.

May we who settle in for a quarantine at home remember those who have no home.

As fear grips our country, let us choose love.

And during this time when we may not be able to physically wrap our arms around each other, let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors. 

- Offered by Greg Christopher
- By Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II


Finding True Racail Reconciliation

Introduction: The impact of COVID-19 and the events of the last 2 ½ months have not allowed me much time for reflection.  But the murder of George Floyd and the events of the last two 2 ½ weeks left me no choice.

I could not comprehend how a crime this heinous, committed by an officer of the law, can happen in modern day America, and yet I knew it has been happening in one way or another for 400 years.  I was so angry, and at the same time felt somewhat helpless, knowing that I could never understand the pain that all people of color, but particularly African-Americans feel right now, and wondering what I could do to stop these crimes that have become all too familiar.

I am not Derek Chauvin.  No one I know is Derek Chauvin.  No one I know would deliberately attack someone - physically, verbally, emotionally – due to the color of his or her skin.   Neither I nor anyone I know would discriminate against or attack someone because of the color or their skin.  Neither I nor the people that I know would never do this, or would never allow this to happen.  Or would we?  Or do we?

And then I got to thinking further – yes, I know I’m not Derek Chauvin, but am I like the two officers who restrained Mr. Floyd or the third officer, who stood by and did nothing while Mr. Floyd was murdered.

What have I done by my action or inaction?  I didn’t have my knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck, but what else could I have done?  How often have I taken for granted my own comfort and privilege when I should have been trying to change a system, a culture, that allows these and other crimes – both overt and covert - against people of color to continue?  

The death of George Floyd has awoken the nation, but it has also made me more aware of my responsibility as a white person of privilege to understand and change the systems and the attitudes that allows both the overt and the covert crimes to continue:  police brutality; lynching; judicial inequity; mass incarceration; redlining; health care disparities, educational disparities; voting restrictions, and on and on.

I don’t have the answers, and I don’t yet know what I will do today or tomorrow to be the change I want to see. I know I’ll need strength to step outside my comfort zone and walk with my brothers and sisters on this journey.  I don’t yet know how I will do it, but I know I must try.

Father, Bless us as we strive to find our way to true racial reconciliation. 
Open our eyes to all that goes on around us that contribute to racial injustice.  
Grant us the knowledge to understand all that we do, both personally and as a society, which prevents as from recognizing and defending the dignity of all or our brothers and sisters, and especially at this time, our brothers and sisters of color who are now feeling so much pain. 
Grant us the grace to reflect on our own actions and inactions that contribute to this pain. 
And grant us the strength to take action to alleviate this pain and to end racial injustice in all its forms.

In your name we pray.

- Written and offered by Phil Chick


To End Racism

Introduction: A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. We are called to play the Good Samaritan on life's road side, but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life's highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. Compassion sees that an edifice that produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. MLK

I will not tire of declaring that if we really want an effective end to violence we must remove the violence that lies at the root of all violence: structural violence, social injustice, exclusion of citizens from the management of the country, repression. All this is what constitutes the primal cause, from which the rest flows naturally. Oscar Romero, S.J.

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest. Oscar Romero, S.J.

O Lord our God, in your mercy and kindness, no thought of ours is left unnoticed, no desire or concern ignored. You have proven that blessings abound when we fall on our knees in prayer, and so we turn to you in our hour of need.

Surrounded by violence and cries for justice, we hear your voice telling us what is required, “Only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Mi 6:8). Fill us with your mercy so that we, in turn, may be merciful to others.

Strip away pride, suspicion, and racism so that we may seek peace and justice in our communities. Strengthen our hearts so that they beat only to the rhythm of your holy will. Flood our path with your light as we walk humbly toward a future filled with encounter and unity.

Be with us, O Lord, in our efforts, for only by the prompting of your grace can we progress toward virtue. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.

- Offered by Melissa Baumann


United States Conference of Catholic Bishops


Pope Francis’ Prayer for our Earth

All-powerful God,   you are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.

Pour out upon us the power of your love, that we may protect life and beauty. Fill us with peace, that we may live as brothers and sisters, harming no one.

O God of the poor,  help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth, so precious in your eyes.

Bring healing to our lives, that we may protect the world and not prey on it,  that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.

Touch the hearts of those who look only for gain at the expense of the poor and the earth.

Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,  to be filled with awe and contemplation, to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature as we journey towards your infinite light.

We thank you for being with us each day. Encourage us, we pray,  in our struggle for justice, love and peace.

- Offered by Debra Mooney


For Hope to Sustain Us

Introduction: In a moment, I’ll offer a prayer—a supplication, really—for wisdom and hope. I don’t know about you, but I feel myself in need of both.

For all that we face, the decisions that we and you will make in the days ahead, it seems to me that we would benefit from what the epistle of James called “the wisdom from above” – wisdom that is “first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy” (James 3:17 NRSV) – the same wisdom for which Solomon asked.

No less will we need hope, more I suspect than we already carry with us.

Here I want to be precise.

I won’t ask for remembered hope, tinged with sadness that the future is not unfolding as we had imagined. I heard a homily recently about such remembered hope, as it was related by the two downhearted apostles on the road to Emmaus on Easter morning. “They crucified him,” the apostles told their companion, whom they failed to recognize, “but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel” – by which they seem to have meant, “we had hoped that he would free Israel from the Romans.” (Luke 24:20-21)

We of course already have more than enough remembered hopes—not least the hopes we had to congratulate our newest Xavier graduates with fitting ceremonies ten days ago, and yes, even to shake their hands.

Nor, I think, do we need the type of hope that the Czech theologian Tomáš Halík dismissed as “optimism,” namely “the opinion that everything will somehow turn out all right.”

But instead, I will ask that we might receive a sustaining hope—one that allows us (in Halík’s words) to “accept reality and its burden,” and nevertheless persist. The kind of hope that gives us the energy to work hard to make the world better. The kind of joy-giving hope that Laudato si’ invokes, even as it describes rather dauntingly the “long path of renewal” ahead for our common home.

Here is the prayer I offer:

Dear God: for the leaders of Xavier University, including those of us present in this moment, and for our entire community, we humbly ask for the wisdom from above and for hope to sustain us.

- Written and offered by David Mengel


Mary

Mary:  Gods work of art is what the Creator intended all of us to be. Never has a religion so elevated a woman as has Christianity.

Historians of the Roman Empire document how much the Church’s elevation of women threatened the status quo.  In an empire that treated women like chattel, the Church declared women equal in dignity to man.  In a culture that declared that she could be dismissed from a marriage by a selfish husband, the Church taught that marriage was forever. In a culture in which women were viewed as objects of pleasure for men, Christianity objected, raising sexuality from just the physical to a very icon of God‘s love for us: personal, passionate, faithful, forever, and life-giving.

Women become saints; women found it monasteries; and women begin schools, orphanages, and hospitals.

In the development of the history of the United States, women in the Catholic Church were university presidents, hospital CEOs, and the most effective professional social workers decades before the rest of the culture caught up.

Every Catholic fifty-five and older can recall the days when the most influential, effective, and beloved people in the parish where “the Sisters.”

It is the Church that believes that the omnipotent God of the universe awaited for the free consent of a women before His plan of salvation could proceed.

Best of all, the Church protected and exalted the most noble vocation of all – that of a mother.

- Offered by Gary Massa
- Authored by Cardinal T Dolan, from 'Who Do You Say I Am? (May 9)"


A ‘Thank You’ for Friends

Almighty Lord,

I give to you all those who are here with me today

and thank you for them.
I praise you for everything they are
and for all their gifts and talents.
Lord, I thank you for the many gifts that they have given to others;
For all the kindness that they have shown to me.
Father, at the beginning of time You breathed Your life into creation.
May you continue to breathe Your life into them now,
So that each step they take is filled with Your faith,
each thought they think is filled with Your hope,
and each moment they live is filled with Your love.
May they fully know Your life
And fully live in Your love
This day and every day.

- Offered by Dale Grubb, on his last day as ACE Fellow at Xavier
- Author unknown


Prayer for Victory in Europe Day

Introduction: Rt Rev Colin Sinclair, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, has asked church members to pray as they remember the 75th anniversary of VE day, Friday 8 May 1945, when the Second World War ended in Europe.
He said: “It is too easy to get so focused on the impact of Coronavirus that we forget other important aspects of life and of our history.

“This week we mark the 75th Anniversary of VE Day. Although there are increasingly few veterans of that War still alive, the world we live in was shaped by the outcome of the Second World War.

“When it happened, while the war in the Far East still had three terrible months to run, the nation rightly celebrated the ending of a conflict in which so many both military and civilians suffered.

“The hope and prayer then, and still is today, was that war would be consigned to history and the nations would work together to build a better world in days of peace.

“For that we still work and pray, but on VE Day we pray and remember.”


Prayer for the 75th Anniversary of VE Day

Trusting the promises of God,
and with faith in his mercy,
let us pray to the Lord
on this the 75th Anniversary of VE Day
Let us pray.

Let us give thanks
for the selfless and courageous service
and sacrifice of those who brought peace to Europe,
and for the good example they have given us.

Silence

Let us pray for nations still devastated by war,
for their people and their leaders,
and for those who suffer
the effects or memories of past wars;
for veterans,
for those who mourn,
and for all innocent victims
whose lives have been shattered
by the cruelty of others.

Silence

Let us give thanks for those
who work for peace and liberty
throughout the world,
for the Armed Forces of the Crown,
and for all who strive
to bring an end to injustice and oppression.

Silence 

Let us pray for those in our own day
who have grown weary or lost hope
as a result of violence or terror;
for all refugees and displaced people,
and for those who seek to address
the causes of discord and distrust.

Silence

Let us give thanks
for the reconciliation of former enemies,
for the flourishing of goodwill between them,
and for the many blessings we enjoy
as a result of the sacrifices
which have made for peace.

Silence

Let us pray for the young people
of our own day
and for all who will shape
the future of this nation,
that they may be inspired
by those who have gone before them
to serve as they have been served. 

Silence

As generations before us fought for peace,that the world might never again know
such violence and destruction. may we work for peace and reconciliation
in our homes and communities,
and promote peace throughout the world.

Silence

As they fought for justice,
that the scourge of prejudice and oppression
might never again take root in our societies
may we work for a world
in which hatred and injustice
never have the final word,
and where all people
can flourish with dignity and hope.

Silence

 As they struggled
so that the whole human family
might know good will, security, and freedom.
may we always acknowledge
how precious are the gifts
which God has entrusted to us,
and exercise the freedoms
and responsibilities we have
with gratitude and humility.

Silence

So we pledge ourselves to serve you
and all humankind, in the cause of peace,
for the relief of want and suffering,
and for the praise of your name.
May almighty God, who has given us
the will to undertake these things,
bless us with the strength to perform them.
Guide us by your Spirit;
give us wisdom; give us courage;
give us hope;
and keep us faithful now and always.

- Offered by Joe Feldhaus


A Mother's Love

There are times when only a mother's love
Can understand our tears,
Can soothe our disappoints
And calm all of our fears.

There are times when only a mother's love
Can share the joy we feel
When something we've dreamed about
Quite suddenly is real.

There are times when only a mother's faith
Can help us on life's way
And inspire in us the confidence
We need from day to day.

For a mother's heart and a mother's faith
And a mother's steadfast love
Were fashioned by the angels
And sent from God above.

- Offered by Debra Mooney


Starting a Decision-Making Meeting

Good and loving God, our source of love and light,
Thank you for bringing us together today
      in a spirit of generosity.
May we honor one another
      by keeping an open mind.
May we voice our truth
     and listen with an open heart.
May we discern your will
      to unite in fruitful outcome.
We ask for your wisdom and grace,
     to use our talents for the betterment of others.
With gratitude, we offer this prayer for your inspirational guidance.

- Written and offered by Debra Mooney


When This is Over: A COVID Poem

 

- Offered by Jeff Coleman
- Written by  Laura Kelly Fanucci


Slow Me Down, Lord

Slow me down, Lord.
Ease the pounding of my heart by the quieting of my mind.
Steady my hurried pace.
Give me, amidst the day's confusion
the calmness of the everlasting hills.

Break the tension of my nerves and muscles
with the soothing music of singing streams
that live in my memory.

Help me to know the magical, restoring power of sleep.
Teach me the art
of taking minute vacations....
slowing down to look at a flower,
to chat with a friend,
to read a few lines from a good book.

Remind me
of the fable of the hare and the tortoise;
that the race is not always to the swift;
that there is more to life than measuring its speed.

Let me look up at the branches of the towering oak
and know that ... it grew slowly ... and well.

Inspire me
to send my own roots down deep...
into the soil of life's endearing values...

That I may grow toward the stars of my greater destiny.

Slow me down, Lord.

- Offered by Janice Walker
- A
poem by  Wilfred Arlan Peterson


On God"I gave in, and admitted that God was God" - C.S Lewis

It is always shocking to meet life where we thought we were alone. “Look out!” we cry, “it’s alive.” And therefore this is the very point at which so many draw back—I would have done so myself if I could—and proceed no further with Christianity. An “impersonal God”—well and good. A subjective God of beauty,  truth and goodness, inside our own heads—better still. A formless life- force surging through us, a vast power which we can tap—best of all. But God Himself, alive, pulling at the other end of the cord, perhaps approaching at an infinite speed, the hunter, king, husband—that is quite another matter. There comes a moment when the children who have been playing at burglars hush suddenly: was that a real footstep in the hall? There comes a moment when people who have been dabbling in religion (“Man’s search for God”!) suddenly draw back. Supposing we really found Him? We never meant it to come to that! Worse still, supposing He had found us!

Offered by Melissa Baumann
- From Miracles, Compiled in Words to Live by C. S. Lewis


The Gratitude Prayer

God help us to always look to the many things for which we can be grateful –
even in the midst of times of loss.

Let us enjoy the peace that comes with having a grateful heart.
The Bible tells us that it will rain on the just and the unjust,
but there is always something to thank you for, God.

Teach us to make the choice to think on those things,
so that we may always have a thankful heart.

- Offered by Judy Lewis


Pandemic

What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times? 
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.

And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.

Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.

- Offered by Becky Cull
- Written by Lynn Ungar


A Lenten Reflection – fitting amidst COVID

 "Try to keep your soul always in peace and quiet, always ready for whatever our Lord may wish to work in you. It is certainly a higher virtue of the soul, and a greater grace, to be able to enjoy the Lord in different times and different places than in only one." 
- St. Ignatius of Loyola

 This is often the work of the spiritual life: to quiet ourselves and limit distractions so that we might hear God's voice, active in our lives and present in the world. Whether we go on retreat to or travel to a foreign country on service, we are attempting to free ourselves from our normal routines and expectations so that we may experience God in different ways and in different places – different than the life that we are used to living.

 Now we are being asked to do two very different things at the same time. We are being asked to slow down and simplify our lives – a lot – and limit our interactions with others while simultaneously intensifying the stresses, anxieties, and fears caused by the world around us. To restate the obvious, there are far more questions and unknowns in the world right now than there are certainties.

 But that is exactly where we are called to be at this moment. We are reminded, or perhaps awakened, to the reality that we are not always in control of our lives and we have not been given a choice in the matter. It's easy to read St. Ignatius' quote at the beginning in a light-hearted and casual way within the context of our "normal" lives. We are far from our normal lives.

 St. Ignatius led a complicated life and knew that ours too would be complicated and hard and uncertain. He expected this of our reality. He also knew that grace could be found in these times and that we would be called to find God within the chaos and hardship. Here we are.

 We are not going to have answers for a long time. We don't know where the stock market is heading or when our favorite bar or restaurant is going to reopen. Most community events, including Mass, are being held in abeyance. We aren't even sure when we will see our students and colleagues again. Most importantly, and perhaps overlooked or dismissed at these early stages, we don't know if our friends or loved ones will get sick from the virus at some point.

However, we remain a community of faith connected through a common mission even when we are physically and emotionally separated. We have served together in many ways: from academic departments and University committees to local service and international programs. We work together, pray together, serve together, and mourn together. We know each other's families. We know what brings us joy and what brings us sadness. We are connected in so many ways and we can hold each other up and care for one another during this time – a text, a call, a prayer. Our connections aren't lost during this time.

 St. Ignatius and his early companions knew what it was like to be separated from each other and the sadness it created and they never lost sight that grace was always present in these times. In a letter sent to Ignatius from Japan, St. Francis Xavier offered his best friend insight that speaks to us directly at this uncertain and anxious time. He reminds his friend Ignatius that we are called to hear a different voice and to offer a different response.

 "Anxious and uncertain times would certainly stir most to meditate on spiritual realities and to listen actively to what God is saying to them. They would forget their own desires, their human affairs, and give themselves over entirely to God's will and His choice. They would cry out with all their heart: Lord, I am here! What do you want me to do? Send me anywhere you like."

 This is where we have been sent. Our desires and hopes have been put on hold. Our reality is much different than expected. May we be attentive to what God is asking of us and may we have the strength to respond to it.

- Offered by Phil Chick
- Written by Ryan Sheehan


Civil War Prayer – fitting amidst COVID

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve,
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.

I asked for health, that I might do great things,
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.

I asked for riches, that I might be happy,
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.

I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men,
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.

I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life,
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.

I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I had hoped for. 
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.

- Offered by Greg Christopher


Lessons from Fr. Goe

Goes's story is not well known, even to Jesuits. There is at least one obvious reason why this is: he left behind a scanty historical record, and the few supposed facts concerning his life sometimes conflict. But there's another reason as well. History readily celebrates those who literally put places on the map - Columbus, Hudson, even Goes's Jesuit colleague Jacques Marquette, who navigated the Upper Mississippi River. But there's only a quick slide into oblivion for those who came away empty, or those like Goes who removed places like Cathay from the map. The difference is completely understandable in one way and curious in another. Columbus found something, all right, but not what he was looking for. And what these early explorers discovered - or didn't - was often a result of chance and luck. The measure of their personal greatness is less what they found at journey's end and more the depth of human character that carried them along the way: their imagination, will, perseverance, courage, resourcefulness, and willingness to bear the risk of failure.

- Offered by Aaron Meis
- Written by Chris Lowney in Heroic Leadership


See I am creating new heavens and a new earth

Isaiah 65:17

Anthropologists tell us that all great peoples and all great civilizations have two things that keep them going: memories and dreams.

If you go to daily Mass (something, that, I may add, I highly encourage during Lent), you’ll often hear the first reading dealing with memories of the people of Israel.  Those memories are filled with faith in the great things that God had done for them in the past and that inspire them in the present. 

You also will often hear a prophet such as Isaiah leading the people to dream what the New Jerusalem will be like.  We know, of course, that the prophet is speaking of the New Jerusalem, which we call heaven, a place where “no longer shall the sound of weeping be heard . . . or the sound of crying.”

It’s so beautiful to reflect on the dream in which all strife, tears, and adversity will be washed away.  And the dream of living with God in heaven – as well as with the people we love – for all eternity in complete happiness.

Allow yourself today to reflect on all the times God has been there for you.  And allow yourself to dream of the future God has in store for you.

Memories and dreams. We need them both.

- Offered by Gary Mazza
- Written by Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan


Prayer for a Pandemic

May we who are merely inconvenienced, remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors remember those most vulnerable.
May those who have the luxury of working from home remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.
May those who have the flexibility to care for our children when schools close remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel a trip remember those who have no safe place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market remember those who have no margin at all.
May those who settle for quarantine at home remember those who have no home.

As fear grips our country, let us choose love during this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other, let us find ways to be the loving embrace to God and our neighbor.

- Offered by Debra Mooney
- Written by Cameron Wiggins Bellm


Pope's Prayer for Protection from Coronavirus

O Mary, you shine continuously on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope.
We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick.

At the foot of the Cross you participated in Jesus’ pain, with steadfast faith.
You, Salvation of the Roman People, know what we need.

We are certain that you will provide, so that, as you did at Cana of Galilee,
joy and feasting might return after this moment of trial.

Help us, Mother of Divine Love,
to conform ourselves to the Father’s will
and to do what Jesus tells us:

He who took our sufferings upon Himself, and bore our sorrows to bring us,
through the Cross, to the joy of the Resurrection. Amen.

We seek refuge under your protection, O Holy Mother of God.
Do not despise our pleas – we who are put to the test – and deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin.

- Originally offered by Pope Francis on March 11, 2020


The Other Side of the Virus, An Opportunity to Awaken...

Yes there is panic buying.
Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.
But,
They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
       You can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
       The sky is no longer thick with fumes
       But blue and grey and clear.
They say that in the streets of Assisi
       People are singing to each other
       across the empty squares,
       keeping their windows open
       so that those who are alone
       may hear the sounds of family around them.
They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
      is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
 Today a young woman I know
      is busy spreading fliers with her number
      through the neighbourhood
      so that the elders may have someone to call on.
 Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples
      are preparing to welcome
      and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary.
All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting.
All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way.
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality
      To how big we really are.
      To how little control we really have.  
      To what really matters.
      To Love.

So we pray and we remember that:
Yes there is fear.
     But there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation.
   But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic buying.
    But there does not have to be meanness.
Yes there is sickness.
    But there does not have to be disease of the soul
Yes there is even death.
     But there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.

Today, breathe.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic-
     The birds are singing again
     The sky is clearing,
     Spring is coming,
     And we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul
          And though you may not be able
          to touch across the empty square,

          Sing.

- Offered by Debra Mooney
- Written by Fr. Richard Hendrick, OFM, March 13th 2020


Joy is Sweeter

Heavenly Father it hurts so bad. Dull the pain with your love.
Blur the sharp edges by reminding me that from bad comes good.
Help me appreciate that after sorrow joy is sweeter.
I look forward to better times.
I can endure anything with you by my side.

- Written and offered by Joe Feldhaus


Seeking a New Way

O God of beginnings, as your Spirit moved over
the face of the deep on the first day of creation,
move with me now, in my time of beginnings,
when the air is rain-washed, the bloom is on the
bush, and the world seems fresh and full of
possibilities, and I feel ready and full.

I tremble on the edge of a maybe,
a first time, a new thing, a tentative start,
and the wonder of it lays its finger on my lips.

In silence, Lord, I share now my eagerness
and my uneasiness about this something different
I would be or do.

And I listen for your leading to help me
separate the light from the darkness
in the change I seek to shape
and which is shaping me.

- Offered by Dale Grubb
- Excerpted from Guerrillas of Grace: Prayers for the Battle


A Prayer based on Ecclesiastes 3:1-4:8

Good and loving God, you have made everything beautiful in its time.  Your works last forever, and nothing can be added to or taken from them.  You have set eternity in our hearts, and so we know that our best work is the work that cannot be completed in our lifetimes.

You teach us that there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the sun.  Grant us the wisdom to know when it is time to plant, and when to uproot; when it is time to tear down, and to build; to keep and to throw away.  May we know when it is time to weep and mourn, and when it is time to laugh and dance.

Show us when it is time to search, and when the course of wisdom is to give up searching.  May we know when to embrace and when to refrain from embracing, when it is time to love and time to hate.  May we know when to be silent and when to speak.  May we recognize that there is a time to kill, and a time for war.  Remind us that there is also a time to heal and a time for peace.

By your grace, may each of us be happy and do good while we live.  Grant us the gift of finding satisfaction in all our work and striving.

- Offered by Beck Cull

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A Prayer for Wisdom and Peace When Making Big Decisions 

Dear heavenly Father, you number our hairs and determine our days; you hang the stars and feed the sparrows; you open doors no one can shut and shut doors no one can open. Surely, we can trust you when the time comes for making big decisions, or for that matter, any decisions. We are in just such a season again, Father, and we know we are not alone. We will trust you for generous wisdom, straight paths and peaceful hearts, all for your glory.

     How we praise you for being the decision-making-God. It’s not our decisions, but yours that make all the difference. We will plan, but we trust you to order our steps. We will pray, but ask you to fix our prayers en route to heaven. We will seek counsel, but count on you to overrule faulty or incomplete input from our most trusted friends and mentors. We will search the Scriptures, but not looking for proof texts but for you, Father. All we want and need is you.

     Free us from the paralysis of analysis—wanting to make the right decision, more than we want to be righteous people; wanting to be known as wise people, more than we want to know you. Free us from the idolatry of assuming there’s only one “perfect” choice in any given situation. Free us from making decisions primary for our comfort and other’s approval, or fear their disapproval. Free us to know that good choices don’t always lead to the easiest outcomes, especially at first. Free us from second and twenty-second guessing our decisions.

     Father, no matter if it’s wisdom about buying or selling, vocation or vacation, this place or that place, this person or that person, we know that in ALL things, your will is our sanctification—our becoming more and more like Jesus. Give us this passion; make it our delight.

     So, Father, make us more and more like Jesus, even as we trust you for the opening and closing of doors that are in front of us. All for your glory—in our eating and drinking; and in our whatever’s, whenever’s and wherever’s. Amen.

 
- Written by Scotty Smith
- Offered by Jeff Coleman


A Prayer for Wisdom and Peace When Making Big Decisions

The people in this room have busy lives.

The Nature of our work, the breadth of our responsibilities, results in lots of movement and lots of scurrying.

The short prayer I want to share is a simple invitation – inspired by Lent – to slow down.

The presumption behind the prayer is that to best serve others – we need to be selfish about finding these spaces in our lives.

- Written by Ted Lodder and comes from a book called, Guerrillas of Grace.


A Wondrous Gift

How silently

the wondrous gift is given.

I would be silent now,

and expectant . . .

              that I may receive

                             the gift I need,

                                           so I may become

                                                          the gift others need.

- Offered by Dave Johnson
- Written by Ted Loder, Guerrillas of Grace (San Deigo, CA: LuraMedia, 1984) p. 132

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Pope Francis on Immigrants

Dear brothers and sisters:

Our response to the challenges posed by contemporary migration can be summed up in four verbs: welcome, protect, promote and integrate. Yet these verbs do not apply only to migrants and refugees. They describe the Church’s mission to all those living in the existential peripheries, who need to be welcomed, protected, promoted and integrated. If we put those four verbs into practice, we will help build the city of God and man. We will promote the integral human development of all people. We will also help the world community to come closer to the goals of sustainable development that it has set for itself and that, lacking such an approach, will prove difficult to achieve.

In a word, it is not only the cause of migrants that is at stake; it is not just about them, but about all of us, and about the present and future of the human family. Migrants, especially those who are most vulnerable, help us to read the “signs of the times”. Through them, the Lord is calling us to conversion, to be set free from exclusivity, indifference and the throw-away culture. Through them, the Lord invites us to embrace fully our Christian life and to contribute, each according to his or her proper vocation, to the building up of a world that is more and more in accord with God’s plan.

In expressing this prayerful hope, and through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of the Way, I invoke God’s abundant blessings upon all the world’s migrants and refugees and upon all those who accompany them on their journey.

- Excerpted from Pope Francis message for the 105th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which was commemorated on Sunday, September 29, 2019 (statement published May 27, 2019)
- Offered by Phil Chick

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What the Catholic Church Teaches:

The most important thing in the world is that God is madly in love with us. There is no reason for it, God just loves us. That is why there is a world, that's why each of us is here. God has loved us for a long time, ever since the beginning of human history. And God has never stopped loving us, even when human beings made a mess of things and did their best to forget about God's love for them.

But that's not all - God loves us so much that He wanted to be one of us. In Jesus, God became a human being, not just to tell us who and what God is, but also to show us who and what we are supposed to be. Jesus was faithful to that mission, even when it cost Him his life.

But that's not all - Jesus is still alive because His heavenly Father wouldn't let him stay dead. Jesus is with us still, and has sent us the Holy Spirit that united Him and the Father to make us live God's live in addition to our own. To be part of that life, we don't have to earn it, and we don't have to deserve it. All we have to do is accept what Jesus offers us, and then act in accord with what he has made us to be.

But that's not all - Jesus has established a community of those who have accepted Him so that none of us ever needs to be alone. Jesus nourishes that community with Himself and He marks every major moment in the life of every member with His personal action in the sacraments. 

But that's not all - God loves us so much that this life of Jesus that we have been given to share, will never end. God wants us with Him forever. No matter how confusing and painful our life may be, we have God's guarantee of final fulfillment. In the most literal sense, God has promised us that everything is going to be alright. God invites us to take constant joy in hope.

But there's still more - Because we share the life of Jesus, we share the mission of Jesus. Each of us is called to extend the love and care of the Lord to those around us. We must not seem as individuals to have all that much to offer, but what we do have to offer is eternally important because it's not just ourselves that we offer, but the Lord Jesus Himself. The Lord has chosen to need each one of us to get His work done. Nobody's life is insignificant. The long and short of it is, that God is crazy about us and once we accept that, everything else falls into place. 

- Written by Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk
- Offered by Gary Massa

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A Poem and Prayer for the Work Day

Let me tell the tale
Of a girl who didn't stop;
Who climbed up every mountain
Without a pause upon the top.

She had dance until each blade of grass
Was clothed in drops of dew;
And the sun knew her by name
But the silver moon did too.

For a fear had settled in her bones,
A fear of sitting still;
That if you're not moving forward
It must mean you never will

So in time, her dance got slower
And she looked at all she had seen;
But found gaps inside the places
That she had never fully been.

For she was a human doing,
Human moving, human seeing;
But she had never taken the time
To simply be a human being.

~e.h (Erin Hanson)

----------

Almighty God,

Thank Thee for the job of this day.
May we find gladness in all its toil and difficulty,
its pleasure and success,
and even in its failure and sorrow.
We would look always away from ourselves, 
and behold the glory and need of the world
that we may have the will and the strength to bring
the gift of gladness to others;
that with them we stand to bear
the burden and heat of the day
and offer Thee the praise of work well done.

Amen.

- Bishop Charles Lewis Slattery (1867-1930)
- Both prayer and poem offered by Tom Hayes 

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A New Year Prayer

We Pray... 
For healing...prepare us for surprises.
For strength...prepare us for surprises.
For vision...prepare us for surprises.
For transformation...prepare us for surprises.
For messengers and messenges...prepare us for surprises.
For community...prepare us for surprises.
For acceptance - of ourselves and others...prepare us for surprises.
For making room at our tables...prepare us for surprises.
For Truth-seeking...prepare us for surprises.
For support...prepare us for surprises.
For Common Ground...prepare us for surprises.
Walk beside us, O Holy One,
as we question and welcome,
as we challenge and invite,
as we discover and understand,
As we see, touch, taste, smell, and listen for the Newness awaiting us in 2020.
May we, Your Holy People, walk forward together side by side.

Amen

- Written by Sister Mary Ann Barret, O.P.
- Offered by Melissa Baumann

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A New Year

Dear God, we begin this afternoon with gratitude - thanks for a new year, a new semester and grateful for the blessings in our lives. We are also thankful for your presence - whether that's in our families, here at Xavier or throughout the world.

As each of us brings you our personal joys and challenges, we ask that you watch over and bless our paths. In the midst of our daily lives, open our eyes to those around us who need comfort and help us encourage and support those in need.

It's this blending of asking that you watch over us, just as we look out for others, which also plays out here at Xavier. 

For this group - and really this institution - we put our trust in you. We ask that you help this leadership team listen for your voice and to lead with purpose. Our students' future - our collective future - is dependent on Xavier being the best it can be. For this and our world we are hopeful - open our hearts and minds to your direction. 

In Jesus' name we pray, Amen. 

- Written and Offered by Greg Christopher

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Open Our Hearts

As we end a semester and enter into a new decade, it's a good time to reflect on the season and our blessings.

Let us pray:

Creator, we thank you for your guidance, protection and love this holiday season and always. 

Open our hearts to peace and healing between all peoples.

We ask that you help us to stay centered and present in love and light.

We ask that you keep us, our loved ones, our colleagues and our students safe and healthy. 

Open our hearts to end exclusion, violence and fear among all. 

We ask that you help all beings to feel safe, warm and loved. 

Please help us to tune into gratitude, into the blessings in each and every present moment.

And help us to see the daily miracles of love and kindness for all.

Amen.

- Adapted from Melanie Beckler and Mi'Kmaq prayer; by Brenda Levya Gardner

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Beyond Hopes and Dreams

Dom Helder Camara, Bishop of Recife, Brazil (1964-1985) once said: "When we are dreaming alone it is only a dream; when we are dreaming with others it is the beginning of a new reality."

God, give us the courage to move beyond hopes and dreams to work with others to make justice a reality for all peoples. Guide our hearts as we seek to inclusively and holistically embrace the needs of our community. May we be agents of healing, support and encouragement for one another. Guide us to listen attentively with compassion for each other, our students and the needs in this world. Give us your love, wisdom and courage to embrace both the difficult and easy tasks before us. Be the source of our words and guidance for our discussions today. Teach us to listen to you and each other as we seek to stand in solidarity with and for others at Xavier.  Amen.

- Adapted and Offered by Jeff Edwards

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Prayer for Professionals

I want what You want, O Lord. By asking You for guidance with complete confidence and faith that You are helping me, nothing that I am called upon to do becomes “too much” or “too bothersome.” Nor is there any room for worry.

I will find it easy to ask You each day to be a partner in my work”¦to help me get things done”¦to weigh my actions and decisions in the light of “is this right?” “is this just?” “is this doing Your will?”

With Your help I will make decisions better and faster, knowing that You will not lead me astray. I will have confidence that, by wanting what You want, I need not worry about the outcome. So I will live my life, knowing that it is Your will that I accomplish.

- From Finding God in All Things: A Marquette Prayer Book
- Offered by Aaron Meis

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A Halloween/ All Saints Day Reflection

Halloween will happen this week, followed by All Sints Day when we celebrate the communion of saints, which I view as belief that we are all part of the same body, and whether living or dead we all remain connected

Reflect on those who have died, who yu may feel connected to.

Relative: parent, aunt, uncle, brother, sister or cousin who nurtured you. 

Teacher or friend or colleague who influenced you, encouraged you and supported you in doing the best work you could do, or in making the best choices, in short they helped you be more than you might otherwise have been. 

A person who professed to have "no faith" but who exemplified all the attributes of holiness while alive and on earth.

A stranger or chance acquaintance who impacted you by statement or action, some offer of help or request for it, or in some other way.

And o this upcoming All Saints Day and every day let us ask all those holy men and women you just thought of to pray for us. Amen

- Offered and Written by Joe Feldhaus

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Golden Leaves

We see signs of summer's passing in golden leaves,
shortening days, misty mornings, autumn glow.
We sense its passing in rain that dampens,
winds that chill, Harvest's bounty placed on show.
Creator God, who brings forth
both green shoot and hoar frost,
sunrise and sunset,
we bring our thanks
for seeds that have grown,
harvests gathered,
storehouses filled,
mouths fed.
And, as your good earth rests
through winter's cold embrace,
we look forward to its re-awakening
when kissed by Spring's first touch.

- Author Unknown, offered by Jeff Coleman

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A Poem Honoring the First Day of Fall and the UAPs:

The World is Charged with the Grandeur of God

THE WORLD is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck His rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man's smudge, and shares man's smell; the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black west went,
Oh, morning at the brown brink eastwards springs-
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast, and with, ah! bright wings.

- By Gerald Manley Hopkins, offered by Becky Cull

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Hearts Committed to a Graced Mission

We give thanks for your and love, Gracious God.
You have given us a precious mission which has the
potential to sir souls to good.

We are grateful for your Spirit moving through us, helping
us to form the words of compassion, wisdom, justice,
peace, and love; helping us to proclaim your Good News.
We cherish the challenge of reaching out, of being a voice
of hope to a world burdened with sorrows.

Renew us this day and every day.
Spare us from faltering, from losing heart in midst of
what we do ourselves and with others.
Open us to your grace, inspire us to listen with longing for
your call.

Keep us aware we are part of a community, we are part of
a people on pilgrimage, we are never alone.
We are nourished at your table and we nourish each other
through our presence and our sharing.

We believe you have called us to the work to which we are
committed: we are yours in our efforts.

- Offered by Phil Chick.

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Friendship

Oh, the comfort—
The inexpressible comfort of feeling
safe with a person,
Having neither to weigh thoughts,
Nor measure words—but pouring them
All right out—just as they are—
Chaff and grain together—
Certain that a faithful hand will
Take and sift them—
Keep what is worth keeping—
and with the breath of kindness
Blow the rest away.

- Offered by Melissa Boumann. Written by Dinah Maria.

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Open My Eyes to God's Diversity

Open my eyes to …
Peaceful things in life.
Songs of peace.
Seeds of understanding.
Goodness in all people.
The spirit of each human being I encounter today.

Open my eyes to …
The world around me.
Needs around me.
Outer appearances that can mislead.
Dangers of injustice and misunderstanding.
People we need to understand.
The hunger and thirst of our sisters and brothers.

Open my eyes to …
The larger world.
The value of women everywhere. 

Open my eyes to …
All the people God loves.
All the species God cares about on this earth.
The beauty and abundance of God’s creation.

The grandeur of God’s creation in every person, place and thing.

Open my eyes to …
Love around us.
The face of God in those we meet.
The Divine source of goodness in all peoples.
The Good that is available everywhere.
The power of forgiveness.

Guide me so that I don’t stand idly by.
Guide me to help according to Your will.
Guide me to know the difference between what I want and what I need.
Dispel the delusion that someone else is responsible for my community, my nation and my world.
Open my eyes to this new day and free me from the limitations of yesterday.

Open my eyes to …
The warmth of interfaith gatherings that build respect and understanding.
The potential in each of us to cross divides and build new friendships.

Open my eyes to …
God’s diversity.

- Adapted and Offered by Janice Walker; written by the Women of Wisdom

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A Prayer for Our Students

I pray for:

Strength - that God gives them the strength to do what they need to do each day.

Courage - that they will be brave as they face the challenges that are before them.

Peace - that their hearts will be calm and peaceful as they go through their day and in their sleep at night.

Provision - asking God to provide for all that they need - for stamina, spirit, and finances - for each day.

Direction - that they will be led to embrace what is good and right.

Protection - that God keeps them safe in this increasingly unsafe world and protects them from harm and wickedness.

Joy - that God fills them with the kind of bliss joy that can only come from the Divine.

Compassion - that they will show compassion on those in need and who have less than they do.

Justice - to give them a sense of justice to stand up for what is right and to defend the weak.

Wisdom - that they will grow in knowledge and understanding.

Hope - to give them the hope that comes from above - the kind that far exceeds what we have in the here and now.

Love - that our children are filled with the love of God. That they will know how deeply they are loved, and that love will overflow onto others.

- Offered by Aaron Meis

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Everything Is Waiting for you

Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. As if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely,
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice. You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.

Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into the
conversation. The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last. All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you.

- Written by David Whyte. Offered by Bob Sheeran.

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In the Hands of God

More than ever I find myself in the hands of God. This is what I've wanted all my life from my youth. But now there is a difference; the initiative is entirely with God. It is indeed a profound spiritual experience to know and feel myself so totally in God's hands.

- Written by Pedro Arrupe, S.J. Prayer. Offered by Joe Feldhaus.

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Prayer of St. Ignatius Loyola

Eternal Word, only begotten Son of God,
Teach me true generosity.
Teach me to serve you as you deserve.
To give without counting the cost,
To fight heedless of wounds,
To labor without seeking rest,
To sacrifice myself without thought of any reward
Save the knowledge that I have done your will

- Offered by Gary Massa

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