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In Our Lifetimes Alone

Boy holding a candle at a Mass for IDPs

People displaced by the violence in Central African Republic celebrate Mass at the cathedral in Bossangoa, north of the capital of Bangui. Photo courtesy of Matthieu Alexandre for Caritas Internationalis

God of peace,

In our lifetimes alone,
We have seen miracles of reconciliation
Nations built by neighbors who were
     enemies for generations
Living side by side as neighbors were
     meant to live.

In our lifetimes alone,
We have seen imperial forces recede
Not in the face of superior firepower
But in the face of human dignity
Standing and showing itself in all its glory.

In our lifetimes alone,
We have seen walls tumble—
Walls meant to separate the deadliest
     of foes—
Greeted by the mutual embrace of a humanity
That would not be separated.

In our lifetimes alone,
We have seen Muslim and Christian
Stand watch over one another in deadly times
So one may bow and pray to you
While the other watched and protected.

In our lifetimes alone,
We have seen shoots of renewal spring up from the blood of martyrs
Rather than the choking vines and thorns of revenge.

In our lifetimes alone,
We have seen plagues beaten back
We have seen fruits bloom in the desert
We have seen purses spilled open in times of great need
We have seen strangers reach toward each other across every divide
We have seen your children sacrifice themselves over and over for one another
We have seen rattling sabers drawn, and then blessedly resheathed, in the face of prayer and wisdom.

God of peace,
You sing to us of a time when the wolf shall dwell with the lamb
In our lifetimes alone
We have seen it.
How can we doubt that you reign?


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