Today Pope Francis gave the traditional address to the superiors of the Roman Curia. He cleverly developed the many aspects of mercy (in this jubilee Year of Mercy) with an anacrostic on the word misericordia (Latin for “mercy”). He concluded his address with a prayer sometimes attributed to Archbishop Romero but first spoken by Cardinal John Dearden.
As Rocco points out at Whispers, this prayer was in fact written by none other than Bishop Ken Untener – one of the most well-known of the liberal wing of the U.S. episcopate after Vatican II. Untener, Dearden, Romero – as Barry Hudock tweets, it’s a liberal trifecta.
Be that as it may, it sure is a beautiful prayer. Here it is.
Every now and then it helps us to take a step back
and to see things from a distance.
The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is also beyond our visions.
In our lives, we manage to achieve only a small part
of the marvelous plan that is God’s work.
Nothing that we do is complete,
which is to say that the Kingdom is greater than ourselves.
No statement says everything that can be said.
No prayer completely expresses the faith.
No Creed brings perfection.
No pastoral visit solves every problem.
No program fully accomplishes the mission of the Church.
No goal or purpose ever reaches completion.
This is what it is about:
We plant seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted,
knowing that others will watch over them.
We lay the foundations of something that will develop.
We add the yeast which will multiply our possibilities.
We cannot do everything,
yet it is liberating to begin.
This gives us the strength to do something and to do it well.
It may remain incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way.
It is an opportunity for the grace of God to enter
and to do the rest.
It may be that we will never see its completion,
but that is the difference between the master and the laborer.
We are laborers, not master builders,
servants, not the Messiah.
We are prophets of a future that does not belong to us.