A Prayer for Those in Ministry
By: Philip Nation
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Acts 2:42
In 1979, John Cardinal Dearden recited the following prayer. It came from a homily he gave at a Mass for deceased priests. Those words were words drafted for Dearden by Bishop Ken Untener. Though there is a significant difference in my view of doctrine from those serving in the Roman Catholic Church, I nevertheless see a great wisdom in this prayer.
A Prayer for Those in Ministry by Ken Untener
It helps, now and then, to step back, and take the long view.
The Kingdom of Heaven is not only beyond our efforts,
it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying
That the Kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the Church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about.
We will plant the seeds that one day will grow,
We water seeds already planted,
knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything,
and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but everything is a beginning,
a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results,
But that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are the workers, not master builders, ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future of our own.
May that future be filled with grace, peace, and hope. Amen.
Editor’s note: This content was originally from a blog post by Philip Nation. You can read the original post here.
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Originally published Tuesday, 14 January 2020.