October 20, 2020 — Spirit & Verse is a monthly column of original poem-prayers composed by Cameron Bellm, a Seattle-based writer and mother of two whose “Prayer for a Pandemic” went viral, bringing solace and comfort to many struggling during COVID-19.
A Prayer for Living “Fratelli Tutti”
When our lofty words of love have been emptied of their meaning,
When our borders and computer screens have erected impenetrable walls,
When our minds are so quick to conflate “other” with “enemy,”
How will we find our common humanity?
It’s never too late to make an earnest and tender start.
May we remove from our pockets the stones we intended to throw
And cement them together to build a home that welcomes all.
May we repent of our indifference and move into genuine encounter.
Instead of drawing battle lines,
May we draw our chairs up to a communal table,
Where we can feast in the knowledge of our shared dignity.
May God grant us the holy vision
To see in every human being a sacred mystery,
And may we love each mystery not abstractly, but concretely.
Just as Thomas touched the wounds of Jesus,
May we be unafraid to touch the wounds of our suffering neighbor.
May we lay down our arms and offer our outstretched hands,
Until there is no “them,” but only “us,”
Until we are, at last, sisters and brothers, all.
Cameron Bellm is a Seattle-based writer of prayers and spiritual essays. After completing her Ph.D. in Russian literature at the University of California, Berkeley, she traded the academic life for the contemplative life, informed by Ignatian spirituality and Catholic social teaching. She and her husband have two young sons, and, blessedly, playing with Legos often nurtures her spiritual life as much as reading the lectionary. She writes at krugthethinker.com and on Instagram, @krugthethinker.