Eleven Years Later: A Prayer on the Anniversary of September 11, 2001
Last year, the interfaith religious organization Odyssey Networks invited me to contribute an original prayer to their tenth anniversary of 9/11 project for their iPhone and Droid application called “Call on Faith.” Once someone downloads the app they have access to a number of prayers, reflections and interviews from a variety of sources and presented by many well-known religious leaders. In the case of their “On 9/11″ project, my contribution was solicited to be produced in a video (you can watch the video below). The video is an abridged version of the full prayer below. Odyssey Networks does excellent work and I hope that you find its smart phone applications and online resources helpful.
Over the last few weeks, thousands have come across this prayer at DatingGod.org after searching for a prayer for 9/11. On this eleventh anniversary of that event, I repost the prayer below. Those looking for some additional spiritual resources, particularly from the Franciscan tradition, might want to check out a book published last year for the Amazon kindle: Franciscan Voices on 9/11 (St. Anthony Messenger Press, 2011).
God of Our Memories: A Prayer
God of our memories,
You have so blessed us with the gift of recollection:
To call to mind our joys and hopes, our griefs and anxieties.
As we live our lives, it is You who journey with us;
As we remember the people, places and events of our lives, it is You who stand by us;
And as we commemorate the lives of those who have gone before us, it is Your Spirit that unites us to one another.
At times Your blessing of memory seems like a curse.
The remembrances we carry weigh us down like burdens
rather than lift our hearts to You.
The tragedies, the violence and the sin of our world threaten our ability
to see Your presence among us,
to experience the breath of life You give us,
and to recognize the working of Your Spirit in our lives.
Your Spirit, scripture tells us in the opening of Genesis,
moved over the face of the Earth and the chaos of the waters
to bring order, life and peace.
Ten years ago we experienced chaos in our lives that stemmed
from the reality of sin in our world;
Sin marked by violence and hatred and fear.
We pray that Your Spirit, which marks the presence of You in our lives,
continue to move over the face of the Earth and the chaos of our history.
We ask that we might be open to being led by Your Spirit to help
renew the face of the Earth, inaugurating order, life and peace.
The memories we carry from ten years ago call to mind the
griefs and anxieties, suffering and loss, violence and hatred
that reflect that sinful side of our human condition.
Yet, we know that we are more than our limitedness and imperfection.
We know that we are called to do more than burnish the mirror of vengeance,
or repay hatred with discrimination,
or inflict suffering to assuage our own pain.
We know that You created us out of love and call us back to our origins.
We know that what it means to be created in Your image and likeness
is to be peacemakers and lovers in our world.
May we indeed be instruments of Your peace,
offering love, pardon, faith, hope, light and joy to the world.
May Your Spirit move over the chaos of our memories
and renew the face of our hearts as You continue to renew the face of the Earth.
May our memories, the gift you have given us,
recall ones once called “enemies” as friends
and call to mind those whom we’ve loved and lost
until we share with them the joy of your presence in the life to come.
– Daniel P. Horan, OFM (2011)