Christians are not new to paradox. We follow the One we believe to be “true God and true Man.” We are commanded to love our enemies. Jesus often told us “the last shall be first, and the first shall be last.” Kingship means servanthood. We believe each human person is unique, special, unrepeatable – just like everyone else.
God of all creation, in this time of widespread suffering and worry, help us to gain new insights into the marvels, the paradoxes, and the oneness of this creation. In having to stay physically separate from one another, we now see clearly how interconnected the life of all humanity truly is. We must be our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. St. Paul speaks this paradox: when I am weak, I am strong. We acknowledge our weakness now, our craving for answers to these strange days, our fumbling to figure out best practices to save lives, our frustrations at misinformation, misunderstanding, and helplessness in the face of widespread suffering. Help us to remember that in this state of weakness, our strength can be found in listening for your voice. At this anxious time, we pray more fervently the paradoxical understandings of St. Francis of Assisi:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is offense, let me bring pardon.
Where there is discord, let me bring union.
Where there is error, let me bring truth.
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.
Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
O Master, let me not seek as muchSubmitted by Rita Sloan
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love,
for it is in giving that one receives,
it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,
it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life.
Coordinator, Life Peace & Justice Commission
Catholic Diocese of Reno