No matter what happens, I will care about everybody here.
If I care about everybody here,
no matter what happens,
then nothing really bad can ever happen.
This is my Circle Prayer. If everyone in a circle says it and really means it, it seems like it would work really well for a small group enduring hard times or crisis, no?
Don’t ask me how it came to me. I was having a horrible, maudlin flight of fancy that I sometimes allow myself and it involved being trapped underground as the Chilean coal miners were (who, by the way, are having a really tough time because they can’t work and — surprise! — have psychological problems from being trapped in the bowels of the Earth for 39 days). I was thinking, “If I had spiritual care of a community in that situation, what invocation would I give and send around a circle and invite others to also invoke?”
There is a theological assumption here that you may or may not have gotten. My faith claim is that when we are held in care (caritas, love, philios, however you want to name it — I chose not to say “I will love everyone here” because some people find that word “love” too confounding) and know that we are, we can endure so very much, even unto death. I didn’t say that we’d find suffering easier or more pleasant, but that we can endure it without our souls completely shattering.
I believe that God’s love and care for us is the source of our care for each other, but this prayer could be just as easily embraced by non-theists.
Several times back in the years when I was suffering regular nocturnal panic attacks I would wake at 3 or 4 AM in total terror. Something that ministered to me was the care of monastic communities that I knew were awake and praying for my soul and for my peace and lifting the world to God’s grace. It meant a lot to me. I join them in spirit every day.
The rose garden at the Emmaus Center, Kent, UK.