Prayer At Ground Zero

Image shamelessly pinched from Fr. Z.

O God of love, compassion, and healing,
look on us, people of many different faiths and traditions,
who gather today at this site,
the scene of incredible violence and pain.

We ask you in your goodness
to give eternal light and peace
to all who died here-
the heroic first-responders:
our fire fighters, police officers,
emergency service workers, and Port Authority personnel,
along with all the innocent men and women
who were victims of this tragedy
simply because their work or service
brought them here on September 11, 2001.

We ask you, in your compassion
to bring healing to those
who, because of their presence here that day,
suffer from injuries and illness.
Heal, too, the pain of still-grieving families
and all who lost loved ones in this tragedy.
Give them strength to continue their lives with courage and hope.

We are mindful as well
of those who suffered death, injury, and loss
on the same day at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Our hearts are one with theirs
as our prayer embraces their pain and suffering.

God of peace, bring your peace to our violent world:
peace in the hearts of all men and women
and peace among the nations of the earth.
Turn to your way of love
those whose hearts and minds
are consumed with hatred.

God of understanding,
overwhelmed by the magnitude of this tragedy,
we seek your light and guidance
as we confront such terrible events.
Grant that those whose lives were spared
may live so that the lives lost here
may not have been lost in vain.
Comfort and console us,
strengthen us in hope,
and give us the wisdom and courage
to work tirelessly for a world
where true peace and love reign
among nations and in the hearts of all.

Update: The Anchoress' impressions.

He walked, all in papal white, wearing a light coat against the damp wind, arms to his side, his face solemn, and the world was quiet. And that image - at that instant - seemed earthshaking: the man Peter walking down into that terrible pit of pain - a place ruined by hate, but also redeemed by hope and heroism.


I was struck to see, each time someone moved to kneel before him, Benedict put his hand under his/her right elbow, discouraging the genuflection. He came down, he saw and blessed; he met with families and then…he left…without fanfare, having done the only thing he could do; shared Christ in grief and prayer.

There was a humility and a sense of his respect for the ground and the families. It gave me chills. Benedict’s humility instructs. I am so glad he came.