Holy Father’s Prayer of Intention: February
We pray for women who are victims of violence, that they may be protected by society and have their sufferings considered and heeded.
As more survivors of sexual assault are empowered to lift their voices and share their stories, we learn more of the depth, breadth, and gravity of violence that women experience in our world. In the home, patterns of intimate partner violence and domestic abuse mar the relationships meant to be most dear and sacred between two people. And in more subtle forms, women endure the emotional violence of harassment in the workplace, the classroom, and other spheres of public life.
Through the gospels, we know this not to be a novel problem, but one to which our faith can respond. Just as Christ intervenes to block the murder of a woman by stoning (John 8:3-11), we are also compelled to action, to the prevention of violence against women. It is not sufficient to drop the stones of judgement we may or may not possess. Rather, following the example of Christ entails stepping in ourselves and rejecting the complacency of remaining a bystander.
Even in the case of our Blessed Mother, we find evidence of the violence women experience. As Joseph weighs quietly divorcing Mary (Matthew 1:17-19), Matthew reveals to us briefly the precarity of Mary’s “Yes” at the Annunciation. Joseph’s anxiety over the “public disgrace” likely was only the tip of the iceberg for an alleged adultery. Mary may have already been the subject of vicious rumours, but could the Mother of God have also been the target of stones?
Let us pray for those women who experience violence, in its many forms; that they find support, peace, and healing. Let us also pray that we, the Church, will respond to such instances with both the conviction of Christ and the compassion of his Mother, Mary.
Source: Apostleship of Prayer - Raymond Moylan Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (United States & Canada)
Holy Father’s Prayer of Intention: January
May the Lord give us the grace to live in full fellowship with our brothers and sisters of other religions, praying for one another, open to all.
The holidays are a time for travel and celebration. Perhaps that means Christmas dinner at grandma’s house or a party with old friends on New Year’s Eve. These trips involve preparation and anticipation. We may need to prepare and pack a few things– maybe a gift and a bottle of wine. We also anticipate the joy and warmth we’ll experience at these celebrations.
As we begin 2021, Pope Francis asks us to prepare our hearts for the days ahead. In the month of January, we pray for human fraternity. “May the Lord give us the grace to live in full fellowship with our brothers and sisters of other religions, praying for one another, open to all.”
Jesus meets with people from many backgrounds in the Gospels: the Syro-Phoenecian woman, Samaritans, and Roman soldiers. Jesus is drawn to others, and they are uniquely drawn to him. Like Christ, we are called to open our hearts to others in the world around us. We can look for ways to embrace them, pray for them, and work together—in particular, with those of other faiths.
In him, we can stand with those of other religions; with them, we can even love and serve those who are suffering from the cold, from poverty, or the effects of the pandemic. Together, let us prepare for, anticipate, and participate in this New Year with faith, hope, and love.
Source: Apostleship of Prayer - Fr. Joe Laramie, SJ, Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (United States & Canada)