‘Beannacht’ from the late John O’ Donohue

Posted by on 12.29.08 | 3 Comments
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Irish poet, priest and philosopher John O’ Donohue died suddenly almost a year ago on January 3, 2008 at the age of 52. A mesmerizing public speaker and soulful writer, John developed a global audience for his work. His life has been celebrated on several continents. He will be forever missed.

The following passage is from O’Donohue’s final book “To Bless the Space Between Us: A Collection of Invocations and Blessings”. This ‘beannacht’ (blessing) for leaders is in gratitude for John’s lasting impact on the world, and with hope for the incoming USA leadership. Of course, we each play leadership roles in our families and communities so this is for us mere mortals as well.

May you have the grace and wisdom to act kindly.
Learning to distinguish between what is personal and what is not.

May you be hospitable to criticism.

May you never put yourself at the center of things.

May you act not from arrogance but out of service.

May you work on yourself,
Building and refining the ways of your mind.

May those who work for you know
You see and respect them.

May you learn to cultivate the art of presence
In order to engage with those who meet you.

When someone fails or disappoints you,
May the graciousness with which you engage
Be their stairway to renewal and refinement.

May you treasure the gifts of the mind
Through reading and creative thinking,
So that you continue as a servant of the frontier
Where the new will draw its enrichment from the old,
And you never become a functionary.

May you know the wisdom of deep listening,
The healing of wholesome words,
The encouragement of the appreciative gaze,
The decorum of held dignity,
The springtime edge of the bleak question.

May you have a mind that loves frontiers
So that you can evoke the bright fields
That lie beyond the view of the regular eye.

May you have good friends
To mirror your blind spots.

May leadership be for you
A true growth adventure.

(Italics are mine.)

To Bless the Space Between Us by John O'Donohue: CD Audiobook Cover

Click here for a book review

Click here for a youtube video of John reading his beautiful poem ‘Beannacht’ a few months before his death.

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