Most years, I take leave from judging, from extracurricular activities and even from my family to attend a silent retreat. I started this tradition the year before I was appointed to the bench. The retreat is this weekend.
I normally leave on Thursday after work and drive to the Jesuit Retreat House on Lake Demontreville in Lake Elmo. After supper on Thursday, the silence begins and lasts until supper on Sunday evening. I find the opportunity to reflect, pray and consider the suggestions of our retreat leader a terrific opportunity to recharge my batteries and to get me to consider again what is truly important in this life.
I have written in a journal every year I have attended. It’s about the only time during the year that I make an effort to write down what I’ve been thinking and doing. It has been very interesting for me to go back to previous years to see what I’d been experiencing at the same point in the retreat. Sometimes, I surprise myself.
One of those times was when I read a Judge’s Courtroom Blessing that I had written the year before.
Some years before, I had heard an essay on Public Radio about a woman who was a light rail train operator. She had said during the interview that before she boarded the train to begin her shift, she said a prayer of blessing for herself and all the people who would ride her train that day.
Wouldn’t it be neat to do the same thing for my courtroom as I started each day?
Well, I usually forgot, because I never did it often enough for it to become a habit.
So, when I returned from the retreat after discovering the prayer I had written the year before, I had it printed, framed and hung outside the courtroom. I still don’t remember to say the prayer every day, but it does give me cause to reflect when I do.
A Judge’s Courtroom Blessing
Bless this Courtroom and all those who will appear here today:
Give them safety.
Give them courage.
Give them comfort.
Give them Justice.
Bless all who will work here today:
Remind us all that the people who are brought to this place today
are Your children.
Send your Blessings, especially, on me as I judge:
Give me patience.
Give me understanding.
Give me discernment.
Give me eyes to see and ears to hear.
Remind me that I am Your servant, and that I am their servant.
Give me grace sufficient for the day.
Inspire me to do Justice,
To love Kindness,
And to walk humbly with you, my God.
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Next week: Expert Witnesses