Tuesday, April 17, 2007

An Icon, and a Prayer for Peace

It's one of those stories of senseless violence that makes you keep your television on CNN all day and night. First you try to process the horror. Then you try to find the stories. The people. The martyrs and heroes.

I love the stories, to see the faces behind the tragedy, and hate them at the same time. I hate that these souls--somebody's loved ones--are gone too soon. I cry with their families for them. There was so much hope. Kids getting their education.
And now. . .

For the life of me, I can't process this tragedy. I want to interceed deeply, but all I can do is sit here stunned and hurting, probably like so many of us.

I like that other people, Veteran prayers, have paved the way for peace prayers for me. I found this prayer of peace in my hungry wandering today. It's by Brother Roger of Taize, he himself, a victim of a violent homicide. Brother Roger was 90 years old when he went to live with Jesus. A mentally ill woman stabbed him to death during evening prayers. Lord, have mercy. This world, so full of beauty, is also the habitat of so much terror. Yet we must still pray. We must still love. We must still remember the radical words of the even more radical Jesus:

"Blessed are the peacemakers: they shall be recongnised as the sons of God." Matt. 5:9 The New Jerusalem Bible.

Here's Brother Roger's prayer:

O Risen Christ,
You breathe your Holy Spirit on us
and you tell us: 'Peace be yours'.
Opening ourselves to your peace-
letting it penetrate the harsh and
rocky ground of our hearts -
means preparing ourselves to be
bearers of reconciliation
wherever you may place us.
But you know at times
we are at a loss.
So come lead us
to wait in silence,
to let a ray of hope shine forth
in our world.

Amen, Brother Rogers. Interceed for us still here in this violent world of troubles.

Pray for the victims and their families. And let's pray for one another.


This icon, 'Christ is our Reconciliation' was made for Pax Christi International at the Monastery of St. John in the Desert, near Jerusalem. Further information: www.paxchristi.net/symbols.

Pax Christi, St. Joseph's, Watford Way,
London NW4 4TY

You can purchase a copy of the icon/prayer card there.


Joni said...

What a beautiful, peace-filled prayer. Thank you for sharing it.

I'm still trying to process what happened there. I think maybe it's part of our God-given coping mechanism that we can't take it all in at once. It would overwhelm us.

The images on the TV are of young people full of hope. Professors who dedicated themselves to preparing these bright minds for the future.

The teacher who threw himself in front of the gunman, to save the lives of his students--yet lost his own life--he is a true hero.

Let us pray for their souls...the soul of the gunman...the families...the friends...and the rest of us.

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

I weep with you, my sister.

Alison Strobel Morrow said...

Thank you for sharing that, Raga. In my haughty younger days I scorned the "Catholic" idea that "recycled prayers" were worth anything. Now that I'm older, and have witnessed things like the VA Tech tragedy and 9/11 that steal my words with their sheer horror, I realize what a godsend they are. Lord have mercy, indeed. Please Jesus, come soon.


Melanie said...

This prayer, from an Andrew Peterson song, has been something I have relied on often in tragedies when I had no words to pray:

"Give us faith to be strong
Father, we are so weak
Our bodies are fragile and weary
As we stagger and stumble to walk where you lead
Give us faith to be strong

Give us faith to be strong
Give us strength to be faithful
This life is not long, but it's hard
Give us grace to go on
Make us willing and able
Lord, give us faith to be strong

Give us peace when we're torn
Mend us up when we break
This flesh can be wounded and shaking
When there's much too much trouble for one heart to take
Give us peace when we're torn

Give us hearts to find hope
Father, we cannot see
How the sorrow we feel can bring freedom
And as hard as we try, Lord, it's hard to believe
So, give us hearts to find hope

Give us peace when we're torn
Give us faith, faith to be strong

Shanna said...

Thank you for this gift.

I must get a good book of prayers. My own seem to falter these days, and the prayers of a friend would be nice. Even if that friend is 500 years old.

Amy Wallace said...

Thank you for this, Mair. My sister-in-law is a professor at Virginia Tech and I haven't had the words to pray beyond almost numb groaning.

My SIL is okay, but she lost a dear friend, a fellow teacher, and she's been staying with Jamie's widow. My SIL and this couple had gone hiking Sunday.

Please keep praying you all. The healing will come, but it will take time...

Candy said...

Beautiful prayer and beautiful icon. Thank you for sharing beauty in this otherwise seemingly hideous world. Now I'm going to go dig in the dirt and center my spirit so I can pray for peace and comfort for these families, including that young man's. I cannot imagine how any of them will go on, yet they must.