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Holy Father’s Prayer of Intention: October

We pray that by the virtue of baptism, the laity, especially women, may participate more in areas of responsibility in the Church.

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A busy, Sunday morning at our North London parish. A request between Masses. “Please give me permission, Father, to do this certain thing (exactly what must remain private) if the church allows it.” Another parishioner, known as a forthright character, chided the questioner: “What do you mean, if the church allows it! The church is all of us.” But far from being ill-tempered, it was a lovely moment. Each felt a different warmth for their church.

We are invited to lift our eyes, our imaginations and our hearts, to something much greater; not as a distant prospect but as a present reality of which we’re already part. At times it’s too great for us to take in. Some of us refuse it because of the inconsistency of those charged with leadership and responsibility. At other times, we suspect we’re not worthy of it; that only the holy are qualified.

The full, active participation and leadership of the laity, sacramentally mandated in baptism, is not a devolved power! At times there can be an erroneous “power-culture” in the church, presenting as clericalism or hierarchicalism, which is at odds with what we’re meant to be, all of us, in response to the One who came not to be served but to serve. So, together, let us pray!

Source: Apostleship of Prayer - David Stewart, SJ, Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (United Kingdom)

 

Holy Father’s Prayer of Intention: september

We pray that the planet’s resources will not be plundered, but shared in a just and respectful manner.

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In the beginning, God created the earth and everything within it and upon it, bearing us in mind all the while: this world was made for us. When He created Adam and Eve in His image and likeness He said to them “Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over…all the living creatures…”. This word “subdue” is a strong one; our instinct is to see it in terms of crushing some manner of resistance. Some see this as God telling Adam to conquer the wilderness outside of Eden, that mankind has a blank check to use the Earth as it sees fit. But this is not so: notice what God does in the beginning.

“The Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and placed there the man whom he had formed,”. Later Scripture tells us that God placed Adam in the garden to “…cultivate and care for it,”. In other words, the manner in which we are commanded to “subdue” and have “dominion” over the Earth is to imitate the example God showed Adam when He fashioned, from the wilderness, a patch of paradise: Adam was meant to make the whole Earth an Eden. We haven’t license to do whatever we want; rather we have the responsibility to receive what God has entrusted to our care and use it for the fullfilment of our needs, and tend it well, not only for the sake of future generations but in honor of the God who fashioned all things. Let us use the Earth and everything in it, yes! But let us recall what the poet Emerson once wrote “We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”

Source: Apostleship of Prayer - Jacob Boddicker, SJ, Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (USA & Canada)