A Prayer for Paris, for Beirut, for the World

Lord, as your beloved St. Francis said, I want to be an instrument of Your peace.
I pray for comfort for all who mourn in Paris,
for all who mourn in Beirut,
for all who mourn in the slums of the Philippines,
for all who mourn this whole world round.

Forgive me, God, for the ways I perpetuate the myth
that some lives matter more than others.
That a concert goer in France matters more than
a brown girl abducted in Pakistan
or an old Russian man who died after his vacation,
perhaps his last trip to the beach, before
he was set to retire amidst the love of his grandchildren.

Forgive me, God, for choosing to look away
from the violence and unrest until
I am forced to look, because the faces in torment
and agony look just like mine, and it is terrifying
to see my own face covered in blood,
and so I pray.

Forgive me, God, for how easily I call this terror
“senseless,” when, were I to have lived in the conditions
and the stories that have been fueling hatred and
unrest for centuries, violence might make much more
sense to me. The only way, perhaps.

Help me, Father, to mourn with those who mourn,
the whole world over, unafraid of bearing that pain
because You bore it—bare it—for and with us,
with me.

Help me to suffer as You suffer, when your children—
in Paris, in Beirut, in Baghdad, in Lasaka, in Port-au-Prince—
in more places than I can name, ache, weep, bleed
and die.

Give me Your heart of compassion, and
even more, give me Your courage to drink the cup,
to die to myself and my privileged comforts,
to truly be used by You
as an instrument of Your love
and peace.