A Christmas Reading and Franciscan Blessing

Chartres Saint-Aignan802

The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom
a light has shone.
You have brought them abundant joy
and great rejoicing,
as they rejoice before you as at the harvest,
as people make merry when dividing spoils.
For the yoke that burdened them,
the pole on their shoulder,
and the rod of their taskmaster
you have smashed, as on the day of Midian.
For every boot that tramped in battle,
every cloak rolled in blood,
will be burned as fuel for flames.
For a child is born to us, a son is given us;
upon his shoulder dominion rests.
They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero,
Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.
His dominion is vast
and forever peaceful,
from David’s throne, and over his kingdom,
which he confirms and sustains
by judgment and justice,
both now and forever.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this!
– Isaiah 9:1-6

May God bless you with discomfort…
at easy answers, hard hearts, 
half-truths, and superficial relationships. 
May God bless you so that you may live 
from deep within your heart
where God’s Spirit dwells.

May God bless you with anger…
at injustice, oppression, 
and exploitation of people.
May God bless you so that you may 
work for justice, freedom, and peace.

May God bless you with tears…
to shed for those who suffer from pain, 
rejection, starvation and war. 
May God bless you so that you
may reach out your hand 
to comfort them and turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless you with 
enough foolishness 
to believe that you can make a difference 
in this world, in your neighborhood, 
so that you will courageously try 
what you don’t think you can do, but,
in Jesus Christ you’ll have all the strength necessary.

May God bless you to fearlessly
speak out about injustice, 
unjust laws, corrupt politicians,
unjust and cruel treatment of prisoners,
and senseless wars, 
genocides, starvations, and poverty that is so pervasive.

May God bless you that you remember 
we are all called
to continue God’s redemptive work
of love and healing 
in God’s place, in and through God’s name,
in God’s Spirit, continually creating
and breathing new life and grace
into everything and everyone we touch.

[Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.] 

[Source: "Troubadour: A Missionary Magazine," published by the Franciscan Missionary Society, Liverpool, UK: Spring 2005.  Posted on this site:
 http://www.educationforjustice.org/node/1609]

[PHOTO by Reinhardhauke. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.  Wikimedia Commons]

About Paul Wharton

I am a cradle Catholic, a native West Virginian, and a priest since April 24, 1982. Spiritual Direction has made a tremendous difference in my life and I encourage people to try it out. My motto is "Progress not perfection." I am grateful that God has done for me what I could not do for myself.
This entry was posted in Feasts & Seasons, Prayer, Scripture. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to A Christmas Reading and Franciscan Blessing

  1. Kathleen Kerns says:

    Wow! What a prayer! I want to make it mine for 2014. It both challenges and encourages me. Thank you!

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