The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

“Stop killing monks”

The words on this sign, from a protest in Bangkok in support of the people of Myanmar, say it all.

The prayer below, composed by an American with great affection and respect for Buddhist monks, was written while he was on a pilgrimage to Asia, seeking to bridge differences between eastern and western monastic traditions. It is brimming with hope — something tragically in short supply right now in Myanmar.


I offer it as my own prayer for all those who are suffering, and struggling, and dying in pursuit of freedom.

O God, we are one with You. You have mde us one with You. You have taught us that, if we are open to one another, You 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.

O 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 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 make sYou witness to the ultimate reality that is love.

Love has overcome. Love is victorious. Amen.

— “A Prayer in Asia” by Thomas Merton, 1968.

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