Prayer for a People in the Throes of Martyrdom

This prayer is from Fernando Bermúdez’ Death and Resurrection in Guatemala (1986, pgs 74-75). Its words resonate with my holy longing for social justice in America. I updated some of the language and emphasized where I thought was appropriate.

Lord, may your Gospel be for me not a book,
but Good News, lived and shared.
May I not be embittered by oppression.
May I speak more of hope than of calamities.

May my denunciation be first subjected to discernment,
in community,
brought before you in profound prayer,
and uttered without arrogance,
not as an instrument of aggression,
but neither with timidity and cowardice.

May I never resign myself to the exploitation of the poor,
in whatever form it may come.
   Help me to be subversive of any unjust order.
Help me to be free,
and to struggle for the freedom of the oppressed.

May I never become accustomed to the suffering of the martyrs
and the news that my brothers and sisters are enduring
persecution,
but may their lives and witness ever move me to conversion
and to a greatest loyalty to the kin-dom.

May I accept my church with an ever growing love
and with Christian realism.

May I not reject it for its faults,
but feel myself committed to renew it,
and help it be what you, Lord, want it to be.

May I fear not death, but infidelity to hope and justice.

Oh God, hear our prayer.


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