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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.

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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)

 

Holy Father’s Prayer of Intention: december

We pray that our personal relationship with Jesus Christ be nourished by the Word of God and a life of prayer.

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Why do people pray? What is the point of these ritualistic actions? Does prayer affect us and the world? Is prayer just another method used to numb our pains, to feel good about ourselves, or to practice wishful thinking? Rather, prayer, as done through acts of penance, through contemplation of scripture and meditation, through self-regulation of one’s words, thoughts, and actions, through fasting, and through praise of God, are the methods Christianity has been teaching for the last two millennia.

The French theologian Yves Congar says, “The deep dimension of our being becomes real in prayer, that admirable activity that is proper to the human being and qualifies one as human. We can experience an I-Thou relationship not only horizontally, with a human partner, but also vertically, with that partner who is at one and the same time infinitely beyond and more intimate than our deepest self.”

We yearn for God, the source of our human nature, who, when discovered, allows for flourishing. Loneliness and addictions are the result of our thirsting soul latching on to that which does not satisfy, that which does not bring joy, that which is not God. People pray because they seek grace for individual and communal conversion from a source vastly stronger than our weak human nature. By taking the time of prayer to discover the nature of our humanity or the presence of good and true values or revelation into God’s loving presence, people are transformed. Healing from sickness to health, dispelling ignorance with knowledge, rising from despair to hope, changing our hearts from hatred to love are all grace-filled conversions. Through prayerful encounters with God, faithful people are opened to the transformative power of divine love.

Source: Apostleship of Prayer - Fr. Christopher Krall, SJ, Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (United States & Canada)