God of all, you challenge us
to be a unified national community.
You call us to move beyond
so we may create
a vision of the common good
In this time of confusion,
you call us to see clearly
with the lens of justice for all.
In this time of disrespect for so many,
you call on us to practice respect
for all voices around the table,
and for all voices not heard in the discussions.
In this time of personal insecurity,
you call on us to be grounded
in compassion for others
and secure in the knowledge
we are called to community.
In this time of despair for so many,
you call us to practice hope.
God of all, bless our nation at this time
and open the way to unity
so we may follow your call. Amen.
Whatever our community or nation, by nature of our humanity we are called to unity. The heart of Catholic social teaching reminds us that we are all created in the image of God, and we are called to live as a united, harmonious family, recognizing our bonds as sisters and brothers with the same “Divine DNA.” We were made to enjoy such unity as God’s children.
This “Prayer for Unity” calls us back to who we are at our core, and it also reminds us that we can hold two truths in tension. One reality is to recognize that our communities, as well as the individuals in them, do need healing. Disrespect for one another and insensitivity to others’ fears and pain has caused serious rifts in our society. At the same time, we can choose to practice hope and to envision communities where healing is possible and where the bonds of the human family can be restored.
Pope Francis offers us a model. He chooses to be fully present to the discord and suffering in this world, and he also chooses to be authentically hopeful that, with God’s grace, we can create communities of compassion and caring. He reminded young people at the 2016 World Youth Day not to give in to despair or to give up on the human family: “The Lord wants to turn our hands into signs of reconciliation, of communion, of creation. He wants your hands to continue building the world.” In this, he echoes Pope St. John Paul II, who called us all to be “co-creators” with God of a better world.
So we pray and we act, with the knowledge that we are privileged to be a part of God’s family, and with confidence that God’s grace will support us as we do our part in the work to restore our family bonds and to rebuild our communities, our nation, and our world.