As regular readers are aware, I’m committed to radical inclusiveness. I don’t deny friendship to people because they hold different political or religious views than mine. I don’t think any belief system except a forgiving orientation toward service can encompass the entire truth of life. But I’m a complicated person. Most of my understanding has come from trying to adapt to sources of unhappiness in my youth. Since I am generally very happy now, I consider these difficulties to have been great blessings.
My favorite prayers and written meditations reflect this attitude. Here’s one composed in 1985 by Sister Ruth Fox, the recently retired Prioress of a Benedictine Abbey near Richardton, South Dakota. I’ve seen it incorrectly titled “Franciscan” sometimes, and not credited to her. It’s an easy confusion to make. Francis of Assisi often celebrated poverty and hardship as paths to wisdom and spiritual enlightenment. That’s why he’s one of my heroes. Sister Ruth would probably say someone else wrote it through her anyway.
A Fourfold Benedictine Blessing
May God bless you with discomfort
at easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships,
so that you may live deep within your heart.
May God bless you with anger
at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people,
so that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace.
May God bless you with tears
to shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger, and war,
so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them
and to turn their pain to joy.
And may God bless you with enough foolishness
to believe that you can make a difference in the world,
so that you can do what others claim cannot be done,
to bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor.
Best Wishes in all your own struggles.