On this anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, we share this prayer — offered by Prioress Susan Rudolph OSB at the time of his death — calling us to both grieve his loss and mobilize to end the systemic racism that plagues our nation. Kyrie eleison.
The echo of his helpless cry haunts me. “I cannot breathe” landed on deaf ears. This obscenity resulted in his death by the hands of those pledged to protect him. We must hear this cry and change the course of this pattern of inhuman, cruel treatment. We must address its roots and plant the seeds for a future of justice, freedom, and peacefulness for all people without excuse or delay.
In this time of Pentecost, I pray with confidence but with a heavy heart:
Come Holy Spirit, we are your people, who cannot breathe the breath of freedom and life these days. We need your presence to confront the horror that has infected our human spirit. We are sick with racist actions, with cruelty to one another, with ideologies of superiority and other kinds of self-centered motivations. This injustice and inequity towers in opposition of who we are and who you have called us to be. Stop us in this insane behavior. Show us our responsibility to make changes.
We need your help. We need your wisdom, your courage and your love to create a world where every man, woman and child can breathe freely the air of equality without fear or prejudice. You know where and why we have lost sight of your mandate to live in love. Lead us to face the truths of our destructive decisions; to understand the messages inherent in your creation of diversity and our oneness in the collective body of humanity. Give us the insight of your Spirit to see as you see and to love as you love. Restore our original blessing of only goodness and loving kindness.
Forgive us. Help us to continue to untangle the threads of oppression in the systems of our society and the arrogance of our hearts to realize freedom and justice for everyone. Make us bear witness to our common human identity. Help us destroy all forces contrary to peace. Bless us with the vision to bring true renewal and commitment to effect justice.
We are one; created in your love. We are your people; all of us. Heal our wounds and make us a healthy nation. Help us to live with the strength of your blessing that has the power to recreate the face of the earth. Amen.
(Photo: Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)