Halfway Across the Ford: A Prayer

At the Pray Tell Editorial Advisory Committee meetings we always begin with a prayer. This is the text of the prayer I offered at our meeting yesterday.

I came across a quote today that touched me, and I’d like to share it as an invitation to prayer.

It was spoken yesterday in Verona, Italy, by the last surviving Italian bishop who participated in Vatican II, Luigi Bettazzi. Monsignor Bettazzi, now 98 years old, is also the last surviving participant of the “pact of the catacombs.”

Here’s what he said:

“We are halfway across the ford, but let’s remember that we still have to cross it.”

The following commentary was supplied by Tonio Dell’Olio, a priest who is also a journalist and peace activist, and is president of Pro Civitate Christiana of Assisi: “The ford to which the retired bishop of Ivrea refers is the full implementation of the Council itself. … The Council was not the simple production of a certain number of documents, but the inauguration of a style made up of listening to the voices that entered the stained glass windows of the churches from the street.”

“We are halfway across the ford, but let’s remember that we still have to cross it.”

Let us pray.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the courage of those who brought us to the ford that was the Second Vatican Council, and for the Holy Spirit who led them there and continued to guide them in the days and years that followed.

Thank you for the immeasurable grace of allowing us to be part of that journey too, even with all of its challenges and disappointments.

Thank you for the leadership of Pope Francis, who has done so much to move the church forward in faith and hope.

Guide us through the shallow water as you have guided us through the deep, so that one day we may all, at last, reach the farther shore.

This we pray, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Featured image: A ford in a 19th-century oil painting from Wikipeda which “may have artistic or symbolic significance.”