Centre for Dialogue and Prayer in Oświęcim

Some Prayers

The Our Father …

(Someone said that it is a prayer that could have originated in a concentration camp.)
 

Prayer for the Dead


Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord. – And let perpetual light shine upon them. (3x)
May they rest in peace. – Amen.
 

Psalm 22 (1-9.23-25)


My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
Why so far from my call for help,
from my cries of anguish?
My God, I call by day, but you do not answer;
by night, but I have no relief.
Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
you are the glory of Israel.
In you our fathers trusted;
they trusted and you rescued them.
To you they cried out and they escaped;
in you they trusted and were not disappointed.
But I am a worm, not a man,
scorned by men, despised by the people.
All who see me mock me;
they curl their lips and jeer;
they shake their heads at me:
“He relied on the LORD—let him deliver him;
if he loves him, let him rescue him.”
[short silence]
Then I will proclaim your name to my people;
in the assembly I will praise you:
“You who fear the LORD, give praise!
All descendants of Jacob, give honor;
show reverence, all descendants of Israel!
For he has not spurned or disdained
the misery of this poor wretch,
Did not turn away from me,
but heard me when I cried out."
 

Psalm 44 (9-15.18-19.23-27)


In God we have boasted all the day long;
your name we will praise forever.
But now you have rejected and disgraced us;
you do not march out with our armies.
You make us retreat before the foe;
those who hate us plunder us at will.
You hand us over like sheep to be slaughtered,
scatter us among the nations.
You sell your people for nothing;
you make no profit from their sale.
You make us the reproach of our neighbors,
the mockery and scorn of those around us.
You make us a byword among the nations;
the peoples shake their heads at us.
[...]
All this has come upon us,
though we have not forgotten you,
nor been disloyal to your covenant.
Our hearts have not turned back,
nor have our steps strayed from your path.
[...]
For you we are slain all the day long,
considered only as sheep to be slaughtered.
Awake! Why do you sleep, O Lord?
Rise up! Do not reject us forever!
Why do you hide your face;
why forget our pain and misery?
For our soul has been humiliated in the dust;
our belly is pressed to the earth.
Rise up, help us!
Redeem us in your mercy.
 

Penitential prayer of Pope John Paul II at the Western Wall in Jerusalem


God of our fathers,
you chose Abraham and his descendants
to bring Your name to the nations:
we are deeply saddened
by the behavior of those
who in the course of history
have caused these children of Yours to suffer
and asking Your forgiveness
we wish to commit ourselves
to genuine brotherhood
with the people of the Covenant
 

Prayer of Pope John Paul II for the Jewish people


God of Abraham, God of the Prophets, God of Jesus Christ. 
You in Whom all is included, You towards Whom everything moves, You, Who are the end of everything.  Hear our prayers for the Jewish People, whom you still consider dear because of their forefathers.
Awaken in them a constant and ever-more-vital desire to fathom Your truth and Your love. Assist them, so that their search for peace and justice may reveal to the world the power of Your blessing. Support them, so that they may know love and respect from those who still do not understand the extent of their sufferings, and from those who out of concern and solidarity do share their pain of the wounds that have been inflicted on them.
Remember the new generations, young people and children, so that they understand that your plan of redemption includes all humanity and that You are the beginning and the ultimate goal for all peoples. Amen
 

Prayer of a German bishop


They set the house of my Lord on fire
- and my own people did it.
They took it away from those who introduced the name of my Lord
- and my own people did it.
They took away their own houses from them
- and my own people did it.
They took away their property, their honour, their names from them
- and my own people did it.
They took away their lives
- and my own people did it.
Those who call the name of the same Lord remained silent
- yes, my own people did that.
People say: Let's forget and be finished with it.
What we forget comes back unexpected, unrecognized.
How can we be finished with what we forget?
Shall I say: it was my people, not me?
- No, my own people did that.
What shall I say?
Lord, have mercy!
What shall I say?
Keep Your name alive in me,
keep their names alive in me,
keep their memory alive in me,
keep my shame alive in me:
Lord, have mercy on me.

Klaus Hemmerle (1924 – 1994), Bishop of the German diocese of Aachen, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Night of Pogrom – November 9th, 1988.
 

The prayer of an unnamed deportee


Peace to all people of bad will!
May revenge cease... the crimes have gone beyond all measure. There are too many martyrs... Lord, do not weigh their sufferings by the weight of your justice, and do not blame the oppressors for these sufferings, do not force them to pay this terrible debt. May they pay in another way.
May all the executioners of crimes, informers, traitors, and all people of bad will be enriched by the courage of others, their spiritual strength, humility, dignity, their persistent inner struggle, unbroken hope, the smiles which dried tears, love, their broken hearts which endure strong and trusting even in the face of death, even in moments of greatest weakness...
May all of this be offered to you, Lord, for the forgiveness of sinners, as a ransom for the victory of the just; may good and not evil be counted!
May we remain in the memories of our enemies not as their victims, their nightmares, phantoms following their footsteps, but as those who help them overcome their murderous passions. We want nothing more than that from them. And when this is all over, may we live as people among people and may peace return to our poor earth – peace for people of good will and for all others...

This text was found in the archives of one of the German camps. It was written by a prisoner and published in "La Croix" 10.10.1989, p. 11. Translation into English: Anna Zubrzycki
 

Make us Instruments of Your Peace


O Lord, make us instruments of your peace
To sow love where there is hatred,
Forgiveness where there is injustice,
Truth where there is doubt,
Hope where there is despair,
Light where there is darkness,
Joy where there is sadness.
Grant that may not so much seek to be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love.
For it is in forgiving that we are forgiven,
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen

 

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Centrum Dialogu i Modlitwy
w Oświęcimiu
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