Every. Good. Work.
St. Benedict instructs that “every time you begin a good work, you must pray to him most earnestly to bring it to perfection.” (RB: Prologue vs. 4)
Embedded in the guidance from St. Benedict in his Rule is that we must both pray and work, ora et labora. The prayers offered by religious at the Democratic National Convention embody the longing for peace and justice that, as Americans, we hope for and work towards. The prayers offered must not be declared only once but be the prayer of our hearts and in our every breath.
My Benedictine Oblate friend, Gloria, invited me to pray with her each day the prayers that Sr. Simone Campbell and Fr. James Martin, SJ shared at the DNC. Her suggestion gave me the idea to invite all who desire peace in the United States of America to also join us in daily prayer.
I share below the text and video of the prayers offered by Sister Simone Campbell, Executive Director of NETWORK and leader of Nuns on the Bus; Fr. James Martin, S.J., editor at large at America Media; Rabbi Lauren Berkun of Shalom Hartman Institute of North America; and Imam Al-Hajj Talib ‘Abdur-Rashid from The Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood.
Sister Simone Campbell
“The very first paragraph of the Scripture that informs the three Abrahamic traditions tells us: The Divine Spirit breathed over the waters of chaos and brought forth a new creation. Encouraged by this promise that a new creation can come from chaos, let us pray:
O Divine Spirit!
During the weeks and months ahead, stir our hearts and minds that we might fight for a vision that is worthy of you and your call to honor the dignity of all of your creation.
A vision of who we are as a people, grounded in community and care for all, especially the most marginalized.
A vision that cares for our earth and heals the planet.
A vision that ends structural racism, bigotry and sexism so rife now in our nation and in our history.
A vision that ensures hungry people are fed, children are nourished, immigrants are welcomed.
O Spirit, breathe in us and our leaders a new resolve…that committed to this new American promise, we will work together to build a national community grounded in healing, fearlessly based on truth, and living out of a sense of shared responsibility.
In the name of all that is holy, O Spirit, bring out of this time of global and national chaos a new creation, a new community that can, with your help, realize this new promise that we affirm tonight.
With profound hope, let we the people say: Amen!
Father James Martin, S.J.
Open our hearts to those most in need:
The unemployed parent worried about feeding his or her children.
The woman who is underpaid, harassed or abused.
The Black man or woman who fear for their lives.
The immigrant at the border, longing for safety.
The homeless person looking for a meal.
The LGBT teen who is bullied.
The unborn child in the womb.
The inmate on death row.
Help us to be a nation where
every life is sacred,
all people are loved,
and all are welcome. Amen.
Rabbi Lauren Berkun
God, You have been a refuge for us in every generation.
As we conclude this convention from the safety of our homes, we pray for a national home where security, dignity and prosperity abound for all its inhabitants.
O Lord, our Guardian who neither slumbers nor sleeps, awaken us to the tireless task of perfecting our home in this great land, built on foundations of freedom, justice, and equality.
Teach us to number our days that we may attain a heart of wisdom. Strengthen us each day in our sacred duty to promote leaders who will transform crisis into hope, challenge into opportunity, cruelty into compassion, and hate into love.
So may it be Your will, and let us say: Amen.
Imam Al-Hajj Talib ‘Abdur-Rashid
Begin the video at 2:46 to see Imam ‘Abdur-Rashid. (Unfortunately, I was unable to find the script to this prayer.)
Join us in prayer as St. Benedict instructs (RB: Prologue 17) to seek peace and pursue it, within our own heart, in this country, and in our world.
See Urbi et Orbi, a blessing for the world from Pope Francis.
For more info about the good work of Sr. Simone Campbell and the Network Lobby HERE.
More information: Fr. James Martin, SJ, delivered a closing benediction at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday evening. We asked him for a behind-the-scenes look at his writing process: How did he go about crafting a prayer that would be heard and prayed by so many people? How did he want to use his 40 seconds?