Throughout my life, I have focused on prayer as a symbol of solidarity, because prayer is grounded in the profound interdependence of life. Our prayers of gratitude remind us that no one is self-sufficient. Our gifts and talents emerge from our relationships —the persons and institutions that have supported us, as well as the earth’s bountiful providence—that inspire and undergird any achievement on our part. From this perspective, the self-made person is the most pitiable precisely because they, in their lonely individualism, think they can go it alone without any help from God or their fellow creatures. This sense of self-sufficiency collapses when we face a health crisis, death of a life companion, a professional setback, a pandemic, or the realities of aging and mortality. Prayer links us with all creation. Our gratitude inspires relationship and connection. Recognizing that we are truly one in spirit and flesh with all creation, we are inspired to move from self-interest to global concern. We discover that in an interdependent universe, others have been the answers to our prayers, coming along at the right time to provide comfort and counsel, and that we can be the answer to others’ prayers, sharing the gifts we have received so that others might flourish in body, mind, spirit, and relationships.
—from the book Walking with Francis of Assisi: From Privilege to Activism
by Bruce Epperly