Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A "Reminding" Prayer. . . .fr Jim Martin, s.j.

The recent rash of suicides among young gay youths cannot fail to move the Christian heart, or indeed any heart capable of compassion. While any suicide is a terrible tragedy, the suicide of a young person who feels that his or her life will never change, and who moves towards despair as a result of constant bullying and harassment, is especially poignant.
Many of the gays and lesbians, young and old, who have spoken about this in the last few days have pointed to how wounded they have felt by their churches and by other religious organizations. The Christian community must find a way to reach out more compassionately to gay and lesbian youths, help them feel welcome and valued, and help them know that they are beloved by God -- and by us. We must lead, as we do with any group, and as Jesus did, first with welcome, not condemnation. For my part, here is a prayer I composed for all who feel excluded, rejected, marginalized, shamed or made fun of, in any way or in any place, religious or otherwise:
"A Prayer When I Feel Hated"
Loving God, you made me who I am. 
I praise you and I love you, for I am wonderfully made, 
in your own image.
But when people make fun of me, 
I feel hurt and embarrassed and even ashamed. 
So please God, help me remember my own goodness,
which lies in you. 
Help me remember my dignity, 
which you gave me when I was conceived. 
Help me remember that I can live a life of love. 
Because you created my heart.
Be with me when people make fun of me, 
and help me to respond how you would want me to, 
in a love that respects other, but also respects me. 
Help me find friends who love me for who I am. 
Help me, most of all, to be a loving person.
And God, help me remember that Jesus loves me. 
For he was seen as an outcast, too. 
He was misunderstood, too. 
He was beaten and spat upon. 
Jesus understands me, and loves me with a special love, 
because of the way you made me.
And when I am feeling lonely, 
help me remember that Jesus welcomed everyone as a friend.
Jesus reminded everyone that God loved them. 
And Jesus encouraged everyone to embrace their dignity, 
even when others were blind to that dignity. 
Jesus loved everyone with the love that you gave him. 
And he loves me, too.
One more thing, God: 
Help me remember that nothing is impossible with you, 
that you have a way of making things better, 
that you can find a way of love for me, 
even if I can't see it right now. 
Help me remember all these things in the heart you created, 
loving God. Amen.


Gary Kelly said...

I have a feeling (as a non-believer) that when we pray, we're actually having a good heart-to-heart chat with ourselves.

It's like psyching ourselves up to take on the world and win, knowing that we can if we try hard enough.

Coop said...

I know prayers... the ones we use in mass. I even wrote a few for my own use back in my teens.

GOD and God's son, Jesus, are my buddies. They're with me. If it's in my brain and in my heart, why struggle with putting words on the paper?

JustinO'Shea said...

OK. . .you tell me: WHY NOT write it on paper. . . reading it might actually help someone totally desperate. . . like why bother with "It Gets Better" ? What good does that do? It just might help someone else. There are other people in the word, I'm sure you've noticed.

We can find all kinds of excuses to avoid things we are just too damned lazy to do ourselves. Ever have to struggle with that? I do.

Relationships require work, sometimes hard work on MY part as well as the other. I can be lazy. . and go without.

BUT I have found out all these things I might be too lazy to do are NOTHING compared to the wonder and joy of a real relationship, of loving and being loved. Ultimately it comes to that. . .and it is so worth it.

What's the old cereal commercial?
"Try it. . you might like it."

Chewing on nails and spitting out rust! Justin

Coop said...

"WHY NOT write it on paper. . . reading it might actually help someone totally desperate. . . "

Because they are MY prayers.
Would a desperate soul ever come across a prayer that I have written on paper?

Tell me, Justin... Do you write down your own prayers? Does it help your relationship with God... and with Jesus?

JustinO'Shea said...

OK, brother, I hear you. . . .so. .

Why bother to write and publish poetry?

No, I usually do not write out my prayers. . ..but I do keep a private journal in which I write my very personal thoughts and feelings. . .Day before yesterday I was looking over some stuff I wrote during a period when I was coming thru a very difficult situation in my life. . .and there were some things I wrote, saying them to God.

We are all different, aren't we. . LOL ANd no implication implied. . LOL


Gary Kelly said...

Yes, whether you call them prayers or a diary or a journal, writing things down is marvelous therapy. It's like projecting your thoughts onto a screen so that you can study and analyse them, now and in the future.

Imagine an artist without his brushes, paints and canvas.

jimm said...

I had trouble jus getting past the title: "A Prayer When I Feel Hated". Makes me think of John Irving's "A Prayer for Owen Meany."

Anyhow, the title is enough to make me stop and do some deep thinking. How terrible it is to get to that point, to feel hated. To live with that 24/7. To find myself scrapping the bottom of the barrel, trying to climb out, only to be booted back down. I realize now, it takes a special desire to persevere. I didn't acquire that from religion, though.

Interesting word: poignant. Never used it. Didn't know it's meaning, nor how to pronounce it until I looked it up today. Vocabulary is my weakness.

JustinO'Shea said...

I liked this when you posted this yesterday. . .good imagery. . .;-)
"I have a feeling (as a non-believer) that when we pray, we're actually having a good heart-to-heart chat with ourselves."

And today's post is awesome. I like this very much as it quite well combines my psychology and theology which I stretch a little further to include a personal concept of God. . .not some sort of Cosmic Ogre w/celestial fly-swatter waiting to pick us off "Gotcha!" and flick us into Hades or the Netherworld (depending if you are Lutheran or Presbyterian). ;-)

JustinO'Shea said...

Hey jimm. . . .poignant - nice word, eh? Now your vocab is getting stronger. . . Must admit, it isn't a frequent in my vocab. . .but I might be convinced. . LOL. . .then we might do poignant moments. . .hahahaa
Gaawwd, I am nutz tonight. . . cracks now...

Seriously, wouldn't it be horrible to think/know you are hated!? That "verse/prayer/projection" must be the feelings of someone who really knows bottom of pit. . .

I've never been there, and, truthfully, I can't even imagine feeling like that. . .You know, in therapy empathy as one listens is highly helpful. . .at least one must be able to understand what he is saying. . .dont yothink?

Anonymous said...

Gary, I fully agree with writing stuff down.

I don't keep a journal, but at times in my life when faced with conflict or even something technical or financial that I am having trouble getting my head around, I've found writing it down, helps enormously.

Just the mere act of 'verbalising" it on paper bring clarity.

Sometimes I do a few re-writes, but gradually it becomes clearer.

Sometimes I need to walk away from it for some time, sleep on it .... and re-visit it trying to look at it through someone else's eyes, attempting to be objective, and every time I've put myself through this therapy I've found myself confident that the solution, even if it is unpalatable, to be the right one for me.

It is a process I have recommended to many when they have needed to sort problems out, or even sort themselves out....and some of those people now do it whenever they have a big problem, cos it worked for them. Some even recommend it to others like I did.

Pen and paper is good therapy for getting your shit together indeed.

Gerg in windy cold Adelaide...where has spring gone?

JustinO'Shea said...

Aawwww sorry the cold is back. . .but that is early Spring, right?

In the school of psychology we use writing, journaling such as you describe so well. It is quite effective. . for the therapist and the 'patient'.

Thanks for telling us this.

readying for rain. . lots. . ;((

jimm said...

Empathy... hmmm... like wisdom, comes with experience. No?

I'd be a very different person had I not lived with a disability. Is that good or bad?


JustinO'Shea said...

jimm. . . I think you are the best one to answer this. ;-)

Your disability, how you've reacted to it and adapted to it, may very well be a plus in your life in the long run. A plus or a blessing: you pick. ;-)

It is not so much the condition but what you have done with it and how you have grown.

And from the little I know from you my gut reaction is to say it's likely you are one good man because of what you have made of yourself.

I do not know how you'd have been without a disability. . . but I can say I like the man I am getting to know. . . ;-)

ciao ~

Gary Kelly said...

I hate it when 22-year-olds know stuff.

But it's true. We are the sum total of our experience. That's what makes us who we are. What else could we possibly be?

The trick is to make the most of it. What we see as a curse can easily be a blessing in disguise.

I read an article in the paper today about the world's smallest man. He's about 30" tall and weighs about 10 pounds. He's 18 at the mo but wants to get married by the time he's 20 and travel the world in his wife's handbag.

JustinO'Shea said...

Ahaaaa. . .an honest man you are, Mr Kelly! ;-)

Might it be some of the "wisdom of the ages" rubbing off? hmm?

I saw the photo of the world's smallest man. . . curious. So if he married and travels the world in his wife's handbag. . . imagine the possible fun! On the plane is he carry-on luggage, or does he have to have a ticket. . .? ;-)

early on a dark rainy morning. . .eeewwe.

Coop said...

I haven't contributed to it gets better. Not because I feel it won't do any good. Watching the videos has done good for me. I just... dunno... if I want to paste a video on the internet with me revealing that I'm gay. Assuming of course I have any skill at making videos. Ha! The only thing I can do is share my story; in the hopes that it will help somebody.

Jimm with two Ms, you've given me something to think about. Would I be different if I wasnt picked on for my bad leg & called "retarded", etc.

I chose to write something about that on my Facebook for national coming out day. I know what it's like to be bullied for being different. It's time for equality, etc.

JCinmeforever said...

I feel this prayer is a huge encouragement to my Spiritual walk with the Lord. Thank you Justin for posting it.