Light a candle to name this hollow sadness,
to name the fear, and the tendrils of despair.
Watch the fragile light flickering there, and promise
in the name of all that is holy
that you will shelter within yourself an answering flame:
the call of peace, the insistence on peace,
setting other lights ablaze for as long as it will take.
Pray for the soldiers of our country,
warriors who battle in our name.
They are so young, these sons, these daughters.
They are afraid they will be killed,
afraid they will do grievous harm.
They are frightened of failure, and of what they must do
Pray for the safety of their bodies and the wholeness
of their spirits;
pray for some comfort to touch the ones who love them.
Pray for the soldiers of our enemy,
whose names are shaped by a foreign tongue.
Pray for their safety and wholeness as well.
Pray to remember that these are our brothers:
they bleed when they are wounded,
their hearts break in sorrow.
Like us, they long for a gentler day
when they might wake to the morning in peace
and know themselves to be safe.
Light a candle in a time of war.
Do not hide from the truth of what unfolds now
on the far side of the sweetly spinning earth.
Remember: swords do not shape themselves
That work is in our hands. From Shine and Shadow, Kathleen McTigue, 2011 Skinner House Books