"As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame; / [ . . . ] Each mortal thing does one thing and the same: / Deals out that being indoors each one dwells; / Selves -- goes itself; 'myself' it speaks and spells, / Crying 'What I do is me; for that I came'." --Gerard Manley Hopkins

01 April 2005

A Prayer for Terri

for my students, who joined me in the many prayers and petitions of the past weeks, who cared to tears and fasting for the life of a disabled woman they had never met.

Creator and Sustainer of Life, we have prayed without avail for Terri to live, but we trust Your perfect love and we trust that she is now free and joyous in Your very presence. You defeated Death through death, the death of Your Son, and we know that Your purposes can also be fulfilled in the physical death of Your loved ones. We pray that Terri's death will draw seekers to You, that out of injustice and horrific suffering, You will bring good. And we thank You for the commitment to Life seen in Terri's loving parents and siblings, who never believed hers was a life unworthy of life.

God of mercy, we remember too that Your mercy is for sinners, and that we are all sinners. We pray for the souls of those who have, beyond all reason, sought Terri's death, and at the same time acknowledge before You our own continued frailities and sins, the murders we have committed in our hearts through anger and selfish desire. Teach us to speak the truth in love but to eschew hateful, bitterly spoken condemnation that wins no one and repels many. Remind us that if such as we are can learn to love and serve You, so may anyone.

God of justice, we pray for our country, our culture. We have indeed become a culture of death. For far too long the unborn have been considered expendable in the name of convenience; and already many others quietly suffer the same agony Terri so publicly suffered these past two weeks; already medical professionals help the suffering and even the merely disenchanted to take their own lives; already they deem imperfect newborns to be worthy of neglect so they will die; already some suggest routinely starving Alzheimer's victims who have become demented or incognizant of their surroundings. May those who know You awake to the desperate need to be salt and light, to stand for Life, that Terri's death will not be in vain.

And, God of all comfort, be the supreme Comforter to Terri's family today and in the days and years to come as they face life without a beloved daughter and sister. Give them faith and courage to follow whatever path You lay out for them -- to be comforters themselves, to be voices for others like Terri who depend on the good will of others for life itself. Spare them from any bitterness that would drive them from You and mar their witness to Your love and grace.

In the Name of Jesus who died and rose again to give us life and mercy, justice and comfort, we pray these things.


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