This prayer dates back to 1979, but it seems ever so timely in this Pandemic Lent of 2021 when so much of what we do can seem so incomplete; so much of what we strive to build can seem beyond our reach; so much of the future can seem so uncertain. May we this Lent live in the liberation of knowing that we cannot do everything — but in doing what we can, we plant the seeds of a future not our own.
A FUTURE NOT OUR OWNThis prayer was first presented by Cardinal Dearden in 1979 and quoted by Pope Francis in 2015.
It helps, now and then, to step back
And take the long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
It is beyond our vision
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of
The magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete,
Which is another way of saying
That the kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection…
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about:
We plant seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted,
Knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything
And there is a sense of liberation realizing that.
This enables us to do something,
And to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
An opportunity for God’s grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results…
We are prophets of a future not our own.