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Evening Prayer and Reflection – 10 July 2021

July 10, 2021
National Cemetery at Andersonville National Historic Site

We spend the day driving and then visiting the Andersonville National Historic Site which is the site of Camp Sumter, a Confederation Prison Camp for captured Union soldiers during the Civil War. It is also the site of a National Cemetery and the National Prisoner of War Museum.

To say that the visit was gut wrenching and overwhelming would be an understatement. The rolling grassland pictures below look nothing like the muddy, boggy, disease ridden place where over 13,000 Union Prisoners of War out of 45,000 died between February of 1864 and April of 1865… a fourteen month span!

Thomas Merton, in New Seeds of Contemplation, said the following about war and peace: When I pray for peace, I pray not only that the enemies of my own country may cease to want war, but above all that my country will cease to do the things that make war inevitable. (p. 121)

With the powerful impact of this day and place in mind, I lift up this Evening Prayer.

The sun has set and the Vesper Lights flicker and glow

It has been a long and emotional day, Lord

To visit hallowed ground where so many suffered, died, and were buried

To consider the depths of despair felt by so many

To consider the horrors and the pain of warfare

To think of those who flippantly call for a second Civil war in this nation

Perhaps they need to consider the depravity of that thought

My heart is heavy, Lord

The work of nonviolence and peacemaking is difficult

This place has reinforced the importance of this work

Lord, help me to truly be an instrument of your peace

Now as my eyelids grow heavy

I lift this humble prayer to you

Dona Nobis Pacem

Grant Us Peace

A wee prayer from the heart of your Padre…

  1. I’m giving thanks that Thoma Merton continues to inspire you to write reflective pieces like this. Thanks.

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