A Prayer for Unity
Editor’s Note: This quote comes with a trail of footnotes that may be longer than the quote itself! However, it’s worth it. Originally, Thomas Cranmer wrote it during the war between England and Scotland in 1548. More than 470 years later it applies just as aptly to the hostility between countries, ethnic groups, political parties, and those of different race, gender, and other deep divides. The abridgement was made by Alan Jacobs and was taken from a letter written by Lewis to his brother Warnie, dated September 18, 1939, (a mere 80 years ago!)
Most merciful God, the Granter of all peace and quietness, the Giver of all good gifts, the Defender of all nations, who hast willed all men to be accounted as our neighbours, and commanded us to love them as ourself, and not to hate our enemies, but rather to wish them, yea and also to do them good if we can: ... Give to all us desire of peace, unity, and quietness, and a speedy wearisomeness of all war, hostility, and enmity to all of them that be our enemies; that we and they may, in one heart and charitable agreement, praise thy most holy name, and reform our lives to thy godly commandments.
1Found in The Remains of Thomas Cranmer, collected and arranged by Rev. Henry Jenkyns (4 vols. 1933), vol. II, p. 186.
2Referred to by C. S. Lewis in a letter dated September 18, 1939, taken from The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis: Books, Broadcasts, and the War 1931-1949, Volume II; ed. Walter Hooper; Harper Collins, San Francisco, 2004; p. 278.
3Quoted by Alan Jacobs, The Year of Our Lord 1943: Christian Humanism in an Age of Crisis; Oxford University Press, 2018, p. 11.
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