Pastoral Prayer for June 18, 2023
(Our pastoral prayer this morning is the prayer-poem For a New Father
by John O’Donohue.)
On this Father’s Day 2023, I invite all the men present today to hear this blessing prayer for new fathers in the most inclusive way possible. Hear it as a blessing not only for those who are fathers in the literal sense, but also for grandfathers, and for all those (including mothers and grandmothers!) who share the strength and care of fatherly love with all the children in their lives.
FOR A NEW FATHER
As the shimmer of dawn transforms the night
Into a blush of color futured with delight,
The eyes of your new child awaken in you
A brightness that surprises your life.
Since the first stir of its secret becoming,
The echo of your child has lived inside you,
Strengthening through all its night of forming
Into the sure pulse of nurturing music.
How quietly and gently that embryo-echo
Can womb in the flesh of a man
And foster across the distance to the mother
A loving shelter around this fragile voyage.
Now as you behold your newborn, you know
That this child has come from you and to you;
You feel the full force of a father’s desire
To protect and shelter.
May your heart rest in the grace of the gift
As you sense how you have been called
Inside the dream of this new destiny.
May you be gentle and loving,
Clear and sure.
May you trust in the unseen providence
That has chosen you to be a crucial part of a family.
May you stand sure on your ground
And know that every grace you need
Will unfold before you
Like all the mornings of your life.