[Prayer at the beginning of the ADDU Academic Administrators – Samahan Student Government Dialogue, 23 November 2020]
Heavenly Father, you sent to us your Son
as your Word of Compassion, Love, Reconciliation and Peace.
He is your divine Word in an ongoing dialogue
between yourself and ourselves as sinners.
He is your Word-made-flesh in our restless world.
This Word continually calls forth our response in dialogue,
shaped we pray by the Light of your Spirit.
From our experience, Lord, we know it is possible to reject your Word,
and to freely shape a response in darkness.
Having just celebrated the Solemnity of Christ the King,
we ask that He be present with us in your Spirit
helping us to listen to one another,
helping us to find your Will in Wisdom,
helping us to heal.
From yesterday’s Gospel, let us recall His Word,
“Whatsoever you have done or not done for one of these
the least of my brothers and sisters,
that you have done or not done to me.”
What we say or do to one another
is ultimately our response in dialogue with you, O Lord.
Many times, in our quest for peace
among conflicting parties in Mindanao
we have advocated to others the declaration
of Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar
in the name of the suffering we humans inflict on one another,
in the name of our inconsistencies and foibles and failures,
in the name of the victims of hasty judgments and harsh words that fail to honor truth and often turn into violence,
in the name ultimately of you our one God,
of “the adoption of a culture of dialogue as the path,
mutual cooperation as the code of conduct,
reciprocal understanding as the method and standard.”
This morning we ask that you give us the grace of
this culture of dialogue, this mutual collaboration,
this reciprocal understanding for ourselves.
In our stubbornness and need always to be right
we know this is a grace.
And where in the recent past we may have failed here,
failing to be sensitive to the good intentions of each,
we beg you to
“forgive us our trespasses,
even as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
With Pope Francis, let us recall that
while we are administrators or teachers or student leaders,
we are all sisters and brothers created by a loving God
responsible in social friendship for the fraternity or sorority
that we share
and the peace that it brings.
Thank you for bringing us together this morning in dialogue!
Let each of us, we pray, be inspired by a prayer attributed to
Francis of Assisi, your servant of fraternity and peace:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled as to console,
To be understood, as to understand,
To be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.