06/11/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

A Prayer for Poland

Dear God,

The souls of Poland's leaders have now returned to you. We offer our deepest prayers for their safekeeping and our heartfelt gratitude to them for the noble ways in which they served their country and humanity.

We all know that life includes death and that tragedies may be serving purposes beyond our knowing. And yet we still ask for your grace to pour onto the hearts of Polish people everywhere to ease them in this time of loss, confusion, and devastation. It is a bitter thing to lose so many cherished leaders in a single moment. We are with the Polish people in this grief over their fallen comrades and we ask you to bless them with healing.

May Poles be able to grieve the loss so completely that their tears cleanse even more ancient wounds born of centuries of warfare. And may the rest of us honor the memory of these leaders by ourselves striving to open our hearts and more fully embrace the Polish people, to understand both their history and their unique gifts.

I cannot help but feel that this was a heroic choice of these souls at a higher level, that they chose the time and place of their deaths in order to mend an ancient wound between two nations. And still deeper, to dissolve a pattern that has kept humanity at odds with itself for far too long.

They sacrificed themselves, I sense, to help heal the wounds of war, which fester in humanity after millennia of invasions, militarism and fear. These leaders went to Russia to memorialize a long-past massacre and in offering their deaths, their souls are giving us all a chance to heal the lingering rifts between nations and between hearts.

Poland has taken more than its share of blows in the long story of humankind's brutality. And as I pray for her to heal from this current tragedy, I also sense that there is a spiritual gift in it, that in some mysterious way it is helping to propel Poland to a destiny as a teacher and leader among nations, showing us all how to cleanse the traumas of the past and create something of beauty from them.

Holy Father, let us honor this sad moment by redoubling our commitment to be people of peace, to be healers of ancient rifts, and to be menders of broken relationships. Let us come together in this moment as one world, offering solidarity of heart and soul with the Polish people.

I pray that we each have the courage to reach out with solace and support to our Polish friends. And in that reaching out, that we help turn the tears into a triumph of the human spirit, transcending the past to forge a more peaceful future.