Honoring the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 19, 2018

Honoring Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dear Lord, we stand together before you, as people have for countless generations in hope, in sorrow, in joy, and in pain. Help us, we pray, as we look back at the life and words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: May we also look forward with determination. May our celebration…propel us. May it motivate us. May it energize us. May it unite us in a commitment to respect and admire and learn from what makes each of us unique, and beloved, and chosen by you, our loving and merciful God. We pray in the name of the Lord Jesus.*

In honor of Dr. King, here are a few of his prayers to hear, take into our hearts, and find strength in as we continue our work for racial justice.**

Thou Eternal God, out of whose absolute power and infinite intelligence the whole universe has come into being, we humbly confess that we have not loved thee with our hearts, souls and minds, and we have not loved our neighbors as Christ loved us. We have all too often lived by our own selfish impulses rather than by the life of sacrificial love as revealed by Christ. We often give in order to receive. We love our friends and hate our enemies. We go the first mile but dare not travel the second. We forgive but dare not forget. And so as we look within ourselves, we are confronted with the appalling fact that the history of our lives is the history of an eternal revolt against you. But thou, O God, have mercy upon us. Forgive us for what we could have been but failed to be. Give us the intelligence to know your will. Give us the courage to do your will. Give us the devotion to love your will.

God, give us strength of body to keep walking for freedom. God, give us strength to remain nonviolent, even though we may face death.
God, grant that we wage the struggle with dignity and discipline. May all who suffer oppression in this world reject the self-defeating method of retaliatory violence and choose the method that seeks to redeem.
O God, we thank you for the lives of great saints and prophets in the past, who have revealed to us that we can stand up amid the problems and difficulties and trials of life and not give in. We thank you for our foreparents, who’ve given us something in the midst of the darkness of exploitation and oppression to keep going. Grant that we will go on with the proper faith and the proper determination of will, so that we will be able to make a creative contribution to this world.
We thank you for your church, founded upon your Word, that challenges us to do more than sing and pray, but go out and work as though the very answer to our prayers depended on us and not upon you. Help us to realize that humanity was created to shine like the stars and live on through all eternity. Keep us, we pray, in perfect peace. Help us to walk together, pray together, sing together, and live together until that day when all God’s children — Black, White, Red, Brown and Yellow — will rejoice in one common band of humanity in the reign of our Lord and of our God, we pray. Amen.

Prayer for Centering

Lord our God, see how oppression and violence are our sad inheritance, one generation to the next. We look for you where the lowly are raised up, where the mighty are brought down. We find you there in your servants, and we give you thanks this day for your preacher and witness, Martin Luther King Jr. Fill us with your spirit: Where our human community is divided by racism, torn by repression, saddened by fear and ignorance, may we give ourselves to your work of healing.*

Invitation to Silence


Closing Prayer
The Coventry Litany of Reconciliation
All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
The hatred which divides nation from nation, race from race, class from class,
Father, forgive.
The covetous desires of people and nations to possess what is not their own,
Father, forgive.
The greed which exploits the work of human hands and lays waste the earth,
Father, forgive.
Our envy of the welfare and happiness of others,
Father, forgive.
Our indifference to the plight of the imprisoned, the homeless, the refugee,
Father, forgive.
The lust which dishonors the bodies of men, women and children,
Father, forgive.
The pride which leads us to trust in ourselves and not in God,
Father, forgive.
Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another,
as God in Christ forgave you.

Weekly Reflection Questions
Weekly Reflection Questions/Invitation to Growth
(Circling back to the Bryan Massingale article – www.tinyurl.com/massingaleamerica)
1. We don’t know what we are talking about – Take some time and go back read some Dr. King’s speeches and writing (besides his “I Have a Dream” speech, such as “Letter From the Birmingham Jail”)***. Why have we focused not on Dr. King’s repeated and fierce challenges for racial justice but only on his warm, peaceful and white-washed ideas?
2. We don’t know how to talk about it – Consider how you might talk about Dr. King with friends and families that see him a passionate preacher for non-violence but forget that he was a tireless advocate for justice and an end to racial terror and economic exploitation.
3. We do not want to talk about it – “We honor King when we refuse to divide the physical and the spiritual and see both the eternal and temporal implications of the Bible. We honor his legacy by living according to a principle laid out by the prophet Amos, which King often referenced: “But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.””**** What can we learn about Dr. King to be sure that we sharing his entire message of justice, not just the parts that are easy to talk about?

January 22 – Respect Life Mass at Blessed Savior Catholic Church
– 6:30pm rosary, 7:00pm mass. http://www.johnpaul2center.org/ArchdioceseEvents/Archdiocesan-Respect-Life-Mass-January-22-2018.htm

Marquette’s annual Mission Week is February 5-10.

*Opening prayer and Prayer for Centering from Fr. John I. Jenkins, CSC, President of the University of Notre Dame (1/17/17)
** Prayers selected from https://www.ncronline.org/blogs/road-peace/prayers-martin-luther-king-jr
*** Letter from a Birmingham Jail https://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html
**** https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2018/01/15/why-so-many-white-churches-resisted-martin-luther-king-jr-s-call/?utm_term=.938afa70c727

Join us in person at the Cathedral Fridays at 12:15 PM for this 30 minute communal contemplative prayer with the intention of reconciling and healing racism in our city.

Feel free to pray privately wherever you are in solidarity with those gathered at the Cathedral if you are not able to join in person.

Brought to you by:
Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, Three Holy Women, Our Lady of Divine Providence, Old St. Mary’s, Saints Peter and Paul Human Concerns/Social Justice Commissions
Urban Ministry of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee

For more information, please contact:
Anne Haines, Respect Life Director for Urban Ministry
Andrew Musgrave, Director of Social Justice at Three Holy Women, Old St. Mary’s, Our Lady of Divine Providence and Saints Peter and Paul Parishes
Shelly Roder, Director of Outreach Ministries at
Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist

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