December 24, 2018
Editor’s note: In the coming weeks, the Paulist Fathers will be launching an initiative focusing on healing. Paulist Fr. Steven Bell offers this prayer for those facing difficulties with family members over the holidays.
Gracious and loving God,
As I enter into this family gathering, I ask for your strength to help me endure the stress and trials that I may face. I will encounter family members who are quite difficult to deal with. Some do not agree with me or my choices and may verbalize their disagreement in offensive ways. Others find it appropriate to be derisive, dismissive, or belittling. Still others just truly do not care much for me.
Give me the grace to keep my focus on you during those times in order that I might show mercy instead of malice and righteousness instead of rage. Keep my heart and my spirit lifted so that I may not be brought down by their words and actions that hurt me. Send your Holy Spirit with me. Allow me to feel wrapped up and secure in your love so that I may seek understanding and know how to love those whose deeds make it very difficult to love them.
Your Son asked you to forgive the ones who persecuted Him, for they know not what they do. I ask you the same for the difficult members of my family. Be with me and help me to work more intentionally with family members of goodwill, so that together we may foster good things for all.
I ask these things as I ask all things in prayer, through Christ our Lord, Amen.