Election Prayer for OFS Leadership
Give us, O God, leaders whose hearts are large enough to match the breadth of our own souls
and give us souls strong enough to follow leaders of vision and wisdom.
In seeking a leader, let us seek more than our own enhancement –
though enhancement we hope for –
more than security for our own plans and vision
though security we need
more than satisfaction for our own selfish wants
though many things we desire.
Give us the hearts to choose and follow the leader who will work with other leaders
to bring Your will to the agenda and help us to fulfill it.
Give us leaders who will lead us to virtue
without seeking to impose their own version of virtue on others.
Give us leaders who will provide for the advancement of our order
without dictating to others to achieve it.
Give us insight enough ourselves to choose as leaders those who can tell
strength from power,
growth from greed, leadership from dominance,
and real greatness from the trappings of grandiosity.
We trust You, Great God, to open our hearts to learn from those to whom You
in different tongues and to respect the life and words of those to whom You entrusted
the good of other parts of this globe.
We beg you, Great God, give us the vision as Secular Franciscans
to know where holy leadership truly lies, to pursue it diligently,
and to ask it to respect the integrity of every person in the entire Order.
We ask these things, Great God, with minds open to Your word
and hearts that trust in Your eternal care. Amen.
Adapted by Anne Mulqueen, SFO and Fr. Kevin Queally from “Prayer for Leadership”
Published by Pax Christi, USA
Election Thoughts to Ponder in Prayer
As you consider the solemnity of the action in which you will be soon participating, be sure to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in electing those who will serve, animate, and guide your fraternity for the next three (3) years. Reflect upon and take to heart the words attributed to St. Bonaventure, describing six (6) qualities of a spiritual leader:
Zeal for Righteousness: The moral sensitivity to anything unjust in him/herself (first) or others. It highlights the importance of purity.
Compassion: This should be demonstrated to those who are facing both physical and spiritual weaknesses. In other words, everyone! Today, this aspect would be described as being a servant to those who are in need.
Patience: Leaders are in critical need of patience due to at least three reasons: 1) leadership is exhausting and demanding work; 2) there is little apparent return for all the efforts a leader makes; 3) and many who are on the receiving end are ungrateful.
Good Example: Leaders are models that other people look to and follow their EXAMPLE, therefore, make it good! The leader is no better than the followers and the writer stresses humility and maturity. The operative word in this process is servant. Those who allow their names to be placed in nomination for any council position must remember that their election to that position will require their total commitment and availability to their brothers and sisters for the next three (3) years.
Good Judgment or Discernment: This guides the leader in knowing both what to do and how to do it. In relationship to this, the writer addresses how to encourage the spiritual and moral growth of the community and reminds his readers of the need for delegation and the danger of becoming buried under the heavy load of administration.
Devotion to God: While listed last, this is the most important quality because everything else depends upon it. A close, personal relationship with God guides us in all our leadership responsibilities. Here, the writer mentions the need for public and private prayer and cultivating an awareness or mindfulness of God in all of life.
Three Essential Characteristics of Franciscan Servant Leadership
1) the call or commission is initiated by God;
2) the response or commitment for three (3) years is wholehearted; and
3) the leader has or is open to receiving the vision necessary to serve in a servant leadership capacity.
…Commitment is the pivotal element … commitment comes from a free will choice … not only a choice but a promise – a choice in the present concerning a promise for the future. …The act of committing sets us free to love God and one another… When we commit to serve … we surrender freedom, individualism and control. The purer the intention to serve, the clearer the God plan, the vision becomes. (Handbook for Secular Franciscan Leadership, p.8.)
Prayer to the Holy Spirit
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful and enkindle in us the fire of Your love. Send forth Your Spirit and we shall be recreated – And You will renew the face of the earth. (Ps 104:30).
Let us pray: O God, who did instruct the hearts of Your faithful people by the light of Your Holy Spirit, grant that by the same Spirit we may be truly wise and ever rejoice in His consolation. We ask this through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.