The first part of this prayer popped up on my social media feed again today. Often attributed as a Franciscan prayer it is in fact, as far as I can discover, written by Benedictine Sister Ruth Fox nearly 40 years ago. For those given to praying it seems an appropriate kind of prayer for these weeks in which we emerge blinking into the post-lockdown light, recognising both that all the old problems are still with us along with the new ones we have collected in the last year and that, if this last year has taught us anything, it is that by the grace of God we have within us the power to effect change.
May God bless you with discontent with easy answers, half-truths, superficial relationships, so that you will live from deep within your heart.
May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, abuse, and exploitation of people, so that you will work for justice, equality, and peace.
May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war, so that you will reach out your hand to comfort them and to change their pain to joy.
May God bless you with the foolishness to think you can make a difference in this world, so that you will do the things which others tell you cannot be done.
If you have the courage to accept these blessings, then God will also bless you with happiness because you will know that you have made life better for others; with inner peace because you will have worked to secure an outer peace for others; with laughter because your heart will be light; with faithful friends because they will recognize your worth as a person.
These blessings are yours—not for the asking, but for the giving—from One who wants to be your companion, our God, who lives and reigns, forever and ever. Amen.