7.-"Open our eyes"

January 2001

[English] [français]

A prayer for the prevention of torture

Our Father, deliver us from evil! Yes, deliver us, for you alone bring salvation. Teach us also to recognise and work against the evil infiltrating our society.

Open our eyes to all those situations where human beings are not treated with respect and dignity, and where inhuman or degrading treatment, and even torture, are becoming acceptable ways of dealing with certain categories of people in our society.

Open our eyes to those prisons and detention centres where, too often, guards can slap and beat prisoners without fear of control or reprimand.

Increase our awareness of arbitrary acts or decisions which set apart or exclude any of our brothers and sisters, because of their name, sex, race or disability. Heighten our sensitivity to private remarks and public declarations which engender feelings of mistrust and contempt towards certain persons or peoples.

Give us the desire and the courage to take appropriate action against those structures in our society which generate and perpetuate inequality.

Open our eyes, Lord, for if we do not see, we cannot be fully alive!

Open our hearts, for it is love that accords equal dignity to all members of the human family, created in your image. One human being is equal to another, woman or man, child or adult, disabled or able-bodied, poor or rich, employee or employer, black or white, all human beings are equal in dignity.

Make us global citizens, ’universal brothers and sisters’; and yet may we never forget our roots, or lose our identity; may we remain open to differences without allowing them to break our communities up into ghettos; may we always be willing to learn from and appreciate other cultures and faiths, while remaining loyal to our own roots.

Open our hearts, Lord, for if we do not love, we cannot be fully alive!

Open our lips to speak out in denunciation of all inhuman acts, whoever the perpetrators may be. Open our lips that we may comfort and give hope to those who have been abandoned, despised, oppressed.

Open our lips also to speak of the beauty and good in our world: so many individual acts of kindness, courage and generosity which cross physical, ideological or religious boundaries, so many charities and aid organisations, so many bonds of friendship and human solidarity that never make the front pages. May we learn to share the truth with those who seek it, and to receive the truth from the lips of those who offer it.

Open our lips, Lord, for if we do not speak, we cannot be fully alive!

Open our hands, that they may be active and exude warmth towards all human beings. Give us the strength to offer our services to others who are already working in the service of the community. In life’s daily ups and downs, may we always know when to give a helping hand or extend the hand of friendship towards reconciliation.

Open our hands, Lord, for if we do not act, we cannot be fully alive!

God our Father, we offer you all of our being, that by your grace the world may be freed from death and evil.

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