The Center for Interfaith Relations is revisiting Festival of Faiths catalogues in search of insight, wisdom and inspiration. Our hope is that these written words will spur meaningful reflection and serve as a beacon of hope amid challenging times.
Thomas Merton’s Closing Prayer
From the 2015 Festival of Faiths, “Sacred Journeys and the Legacy of Thomas Merton”
Offered at the first Spiritual Summit Conference, given in Calcutta.
I will ask you all to stand and join hands in a little while. But first, we realize that we are going to have to create a new language of prayer. And this new language of prayer has to come out of something which transcends all our traditions and comes out of the immediacy of love. We have to part now, aware of the love that unites us, the love that unites us in the spite of real differences, real emotional friction.… The things that are on the surface are nothing, what is deep is Real. We are creatures of love. Let us therefore join hands, as we did before, and I will try to say something that comes out of the depths of our hearts. I ask you to concentrate on the love that is in you, that is in us all. I have no idea what I am going to say. I am going to be silent a minute, then I will say something….
Oh God, we are one with You. You have made us one with You. You have taught us that if we are open to one another, You will dwell in us. Help us to preserve this openness and to fight for it with all our hearts. Help us to realize that there can be no understanding where there is mutual rejection. Oh God, in accepting one another wholeheartedly, fully, completely, we accept You, and we thank You, and we adore You, and we love You with our whole being, because our being is in Your being, our spirit is rooted in Your spirit. Fill us then with love and let us be bound together with love as we go our diverse ways, united in this one spirit which makes You present in the world, and which makes You witness the ultimate reality that is love. Love has overcome. Love is victorious. Amen.