As you know I love to post prayers on my blog – both those by well known saints and those little known. While cleaning up a pile of what I thought was junk a few weeks ago I came across some beautiful prayers that people have sent me. Unfortunately I do not remember who gave me the prayers or where they originally came from. It was a good reminder to me that hidden in the midst of what we think of as junk are often nuggets of gold. And these nuggets of gold are only unearthed when we take the time to dig deeply into a pile of junk with observant eyes and listening ears.
This prayer of blessing though often attributed to St Francis was actually written by Sister Ruth Marlene Fox,, of Sacred Heart Monastery in Richardton, ND. Its message so resounds in my soul that I find myself using it on a regular basis and I think it is worth publishing again and again:
May God bless us with discomfort at easy answers,
half-truths and superficial relationships,
so that we will live deeply in our hearts.
May God bless us with anger at injustice, oppression
and exploitation of people and the earth,
so that we will work for justice, equity and peace.
May God bless us with tears to shed for those who suffer,
so that we will reach out our hands
to comfort them and change their pain to joy.
And may God bless us with the foolishness to think that
we can make a difference in our world,
so that we will do the things which others say cannot be done.
This is the prayer that keeps me focus on my work.
Thank you for reminding me. Did mot read it for a long time
Greetings from South Africa
Joy D Warries
Bellville South Youth &Women Centre (Coordinator)
WOWMovement (NPO 080-339)(Founder & Project Coordinator)
Facebook page: WOWMovement
‘A labour that uplifts humanity carries dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence’ Martin Luther King Jnr
Thanks Joy – always wonderful to rediscover a prayer that has enriched us in the past.
One of my all-time favorite blessings from the Franciscans!
[…] A Franciscan Prayer of Blessing […]
I have noticed that the title and attribution for the Franciscan Blessing – original title is ‘Non-Traditional Blessing’ – which appears on your blog/community/web pages is incorrectly attributed to St. Francis. The following link tells the story of the blessing. It is a wonderful reflection penned by the Benedictine nun Sr Ruth Fox in 1985. All too often the spiritual guidance and direction by women of faith somehow disappears, is erased and reappears as that of men. It is important that we reflect the spirit in her work through our acknowledgement of her faithful calling of women and men both equally
Please feel free to add this commentary to other posts that may have incorrectly attributed Sr Ruth Fox’s beautiful and inspired Blessing.
Extracts from ‘thesacredbraid’ are included below.
“A Franciscan Blessing.” Sometimes it was called “Four-Fold Benedictine Blessing” and attributed to Sister Ruth Marlene Fox, OSB, 1985, of Sacred Heart Monastery in Richardton, ND.
As a writer attribution is important to me, as is accuracy when quoting someone or posting a poem online and correctly printing it with the original line breaks of the poet. So I did some investigation and traced the bread crumbs which indeed led me back to Sacred Heart Monastery in Richardton, North Dakota and Benedictine Sister Ruth Fox. Eureka! Alleluia!
Sister Fox kindly responded to me, sent me the original prayer (posted below), and relayed the circumstances in which it was written. Chaplain for the Catholic Students at Dickinson State College (now Dickinson State University) in the 1980’s, Sister Ruth was invited to offer a prayer at the Graduation Breakfast for the senior class. Not finding a prayer to her liking for the occasion, she set pen to paper, blessing not only a religiously diverse gathering of students some thirty years ago, but many since then with her prayer (and versions that her original prayer inspired). As she writes, “And the words of the prayer gradually came to me (given by the Holy Spirit).”
I’d like to share her prayer, her blessing, as it was originally co-written with her (holy) ghost-writer, titled, and offered aloud. We are grateful. It is a beautiful blessing.
A Non-traditional Blessing
May God bless you with discontent with easy answers, half-truths, superficial relationships, so that you will live from deep within your heart.
May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, abuse, and exploitation of people, so that you will work for justice, equality, and peace.
May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war, so that you will reach out your hand to comfort them and to change their pain to joy.
May God bless you with the foolishness to think you can make a difference in this world, so that you will do the things which others tell you cannot be done.
If you have the courage to accept these blessings, then God will also bless you with:
happiness—because you will know that you have made life better for others
inner peace—because you will have worked to secure an outer peace for others
laughter—because your heart will be light
faithful friends—because they will recognize your worth as a person.
These blessings are yours—not for the asking, but for the giving—from One who wants to be your companion, our God, who lives and reigns, forever and ever. Amen.
Sister Ruth Fox, OSB
Maggie, I think you must not have read the post completely was I do attribute it to Ruth Fox. Like you I hate to see women overlooked in attributions. Well known quotes are often not written by the person they are most frequently attributed to.