September 23, 2020
June 1, 2020
Dear Sisters and Friends,
Once again, I stand with our Benedictine community listening with the ear of my heart to the pain of another shameful death of a human person, our black brother, George Floyd. The tragedy of his senseless death and inhuman treatment touches our lives with intense outrage and heart-wrenching sadness.
The echo of his helpless cry haunts me. “I cannot breathe” landed on deaf ears. This obscenity resulted in his death by the hands of those pledged to protect him. We must hear this cry and change the course of this pattern of inhuman, cruel treatment. We must address its roots and plant the seeds for a future of justice, freedom and peacefulness for all people without excuse or delay.
In this time of Pentecost, I pray with confidence but with a heavy heart:
Come Holy Spirit, we are your people, who cannot breathe the breath of freedom and life these days. We need your presence to confront the horror that has infected our human spirit. We are sick with racist actions, with cruelty to one another, with ideologies of superiority and other kinds of self-centered motivations. This injustice and inequity towers in opposition of who we are and who you have called us to be. Stop us in this insane behavior. Show us our responsibility to make changes.
We need your help. We need your wisdom, your courage and your love to create a world where every man, woman and child can breathe freely the air of equality without fear or prejudice. You know where and why we have lost sight of your mandate to live in love. Lead us to face the truths of our destructive decisions; to understand the messages inherent in your creation of diversity and our oneness in the collective body of humanity. Give us the insight of your Spirit to see as you see and to love as you love. Restore our original blessing of only goodness and loving kindness.
Forgive us. Help us to continue to untangle the threads of oppression in the systems of our society and the arrogance of our hearts to realize freedom and justice for everyone. Make us bear witness to our common human identity. Help us transform all forces contrary to peace. Bless us with the vision to bring true renewal and commitment to effect justice.
We are one; created in your love. We are your people; all of us. Heal our wounds and make us a healthy nation. Help us to live with the strength of your blessing that has the power to re-create the face of the earth. Amen.
I invite you to join me in solidarity to pray that we become a more inclusive and responsive human community dominated only by love and care for one another. My prayer and sympathy goes out to the family of George Floyd and the whole Black Community. May our openness to the gifts of the Spirit be a source of strength to destroy evil and bring about good. May the joy of the Spirit find its ways into our lives once again.
United in the Spirit,
Susan Rudolph, OSB
Prioress, St. Benedict’s Monastery
Prayer for Leadership
Give us, O God,
leaders whose hearts are large enough
to match the breadth of our own souls
and give us souls strong enough
to follow leaders of vision and wisdom.
In seeking a leader, let us seek
more than development for ourselves—
though development we hope for—
more than security for our own land—
though security we need—
more than satisfaction for our wants—
though many things we desire.
Give us the hearts to choose the leader
who will work with other leaders
to bring safety
to the whole world.
Give us leaders
who lead this nation to virtue
without seeking to impose our kind of virtue
on the virtue of others.
Give us a government
that provides for the advancement
of this country
without taking resources from others
to achieve it.
Give us insight enough ourselves
to choose as leaders those who can tell
strength from power,
growth from greed,
leadership from dominance,
and real greatness from the trappings of grandiosity.
We trust you, Great God,
to open our hearts to learn from those
to whom you speak in different tongues
and to respect the life and words
of those to whom you entrusted
the good of other parts of this globe.
We beg you, Great God,
give us the vision as a people
to know where global leadership truly lies,
to pursue it diligently,
to require it to protect human rights
for everyone everywhere.
We ask these things, Great God,
with minds open to your word
and hearts that trust in your eternal care.
As the United States prepares for a presidential election in 2020, we encourage you to use the “Prayer for Leadership” by Joan Chittister for personal reflection and to distribute it widely.
Prayer for Peace
Today and every day we pray for peace. As followers of St. Benedict we are constantly reminded to seek peace and pursue it, to daily pray and act for peace.
We pray for ourselves and our leaders. May we always remember that ours is a government of the people and for the people – all of them.
In God we trust and so we pray for our country, our president and our legislators. May they truly be servant leaders making decisions with integrity and respect.
We pray for ourselves that we may live the Gospel and practice nonviolence in thought, word and deed: May we refuse to inflict suffering or to retaliate with violence. May we stand with and for the poor, the hungry, the immigrant and all who are experiencing violence and injustice. May we all become instruments of Peace.
Trusting and believing in the sustaining love of Christ who is our Peace, we pray all this in his name.
(Composed by Sr. Mary David Hydro for the Day of Prayer for Peace)