Here’s a prayer of confession about our corporate complicity in the injustice of our world. It comes from the Social Justice Network.
Prayer of Confession
You called all that is into being
and offered humanity life in all its fullness.
Yet we have allowed good relationships to be broken.
We have become distant from you and our neighbour.
Lord have mercy
At times we have failed to speak out for justice,
leaving the voiceless without an advocate.
Christ have mercy
To all who fall short of God’s glory
you offer pardon and peace.
Lord have mercy
Assurance of Forgiveness
God is just and forgiving.
God receives us as we are,
lifts us up and calls us again to
be people upholding justice and peace.
Receive God’s pardon and peace,
knowing that all sins are forgiven
Thanks be to God!
—from “I Was in Prison and You Visited Me,” Worship Resources for Social Justice Sunday, posted on the website of the The Social Justice Network.
For more worship resources about global justice, click on global justice in the list of “Labels” at the lower right side of the page.
For other resources related to confession, click on Confession or words of assurance in the list of “Labels” at the lower right side of the page, or see this Confession & Assurance index.
We know that Jesus’ greatest longing, like that of the prophet Micah, was for the coming of God’s reign on the earth—that day in which God’s justice and love would permeate this earth as it does heaven. The ethical teaching that he gave us intended to help bring this reign about. But, he also taught us to pray for God’s Kingdom to come. As we close our meeting this day, let us pray and reflect upon the most treasured prayer that we have: the prayer that Jesus taught us.
Our Father . . . who always stands with the weak, the powerless, the poor, the abandoned, the sick, the aged, the very young, the unborn, and those who, by victim of circumstance, bear the heat of the day.
Who are in heaven . . . where everything will be reversed, where the first will be last and the last will be first, but where all will be well and every manner of being will be well.
Hallowed be thy name . . . may we always acknowledge your holiness, respecting that your ways are not our ways, your standards are not our standards. May the reverence we give your name pull us out of the selfishness that prevents us from seeing the pain of our neighbor.
Your kingdom come . . .help us to create a world where, beyond our own needs and hurts, we will do justice, love tenderly, and walk humbly with you and each other.
Your will be done . . . open our freedom to let you in so that the complete mutuality that characterizes your life might flow through our veins and thus the life that we help generate may radiate your equal love for all and your special love for the poor.
On earth as it is in heaven . . . may the work of our hands, the temples and structures we build in this world, reflect the temple and the structure of your glory so that the joy, graciousness, tenderness, and justice of heaven will show forth within all of our structures on earth.
Give . . . life and love to us and help us to see always everything as gift. Help us to know that nothing comes to us by right and that we must give because we have been given to. Help us realize that we must give to the poor, not because they need it, but because our own health depends upon our giving to them.
Us . . . the truly plural us. Give not just to our own but to everyone, including those who are very different than the narrow us. Give your gifts to all of us equally.
This day . . . not tomorrow. Do not let us push things off into some indefinite future so that we can continue to live justified lives in the face of injustice because we can make good excuses for our inactivity.
Our daily bread . . . so that each person in the world may have enough food, enough clean water, enough clear air, adequate health care, and sufficient access to education so as to have the sustenance for a healthy life. Teach us to give from our sustenance and not just from our surplus.
And forgive us our trespasses . . . forgive us our blindness toward our neighbor, our self-preoccupation, our racism, our sexism, and our incurable propensity to worry only about ourselves and our own. Forgive us our capacity to watch the evening news and do nothing about it.
As we forgive those who trespass against us . . . help us to forgive those who victimize us. Help us to mellow out in spirit, to not grow bitter with age, to forgive the imperfect parents and systems that wounded, cursed, and ignored us.
And do not put us to the test . . . do not judge us only by whether we have fed the hungry, given clothing to the naked, visited the sick, or tried to mend the systems that victimize the poor. Spare us this test for none of us can stand before your gospel scrutiny. Give us, instead, more days to mend our ways, our selfishness, and our systems.
But deliver us from evil . . . that is, from the blindness that lets us continue to participate in anonymous systems within which we need not see who gets less as we get more. Amen*
Thank you, Lord, for your presence with us these past several days as we have listened to and been challenged by the words of your prophets—those found in scripture and those found in this community—colleagues with whom we share the journey of Catholic health care. As we depart from this space now, we ask you to bless our travels and keep us safe as we return home. Do not let the learning and conversations of this gathering die, but may they continue to ruminate within us and bear fruit in our ministries throughout the year, until we find ourselves together again. We ask this in the name of Jesus, in the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Longing by Ronald Rolheiser