A Lenten Prayer by Cesar Chavez – Show Me the Suffering of the Most Miserable

by Christine Sine

Today’s Lenten prayer comes from Cesar Chavez (1927 – 1993) – Mexican American farm worker, labour leader and civil rights activist.  He did much to raise awareness of the need for justice for those at the margins.  After reading this prayer this morning in The Mosaic Bible I read the psalms for the day, including Psalm 99 which talks about God in these words:

Mighty King, lover of justice,

You have established fairness.

You have acted with justice

and righteousness throughout Israel

Exalt the Lord our God!

Bow low before his feet, for he is holy! (Psalm 99:4,5)

This was a great place to start my personal reflections on justice this morning.  Here are a couple of powerful quotes from Cesar Chavez writings that highlight this concern.  I suggest that you read through these several times reflecting on your own commitment to justice then read the prayer at the end aloud.

“We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community… Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others for their sake and for our own. “

“Social justice… you see… the oppressors always underestimate the oppressed and the oppressed almost always overestimate the oppressor.”

The following prayer comes from the Mosaic Bible whose meditations have really nourished my soul throughout this Lenten season.

Show me the suffering of the most miserable

So I will know my people’s plight

Free me to pray for others;For you are present in every person

Help me to take responsibility for my own life;

So that I can be free at last.

Give me honesty and patience;

So that I can work with other workers.

Bring forth song and celebration;

So that the Spirit will be alive among us.

Let the Spirit flourish and grow;

So that we will never tire of the struggle.

Let us remember those who have died for justice;

For they have given us life.

Help us love even those who hate us;

So we can change the world.

Amen.

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