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Holy Father’s Prayer of Intention: JUly

We pray that today’s families may be accompanied with love, respect and guidance.

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Much writing about the family, for example in letters of the Pope and bishops, emphasizes the mission or tasks of the family – what the family should do, and what we expect of families.

But the intention of this month shifts a bit to what we should do for the family to make their mission possible. This is important because we know the many challenges facing the family today. We see photos of children separated from parents, homeless and refugee children, and the tyranny of the cellphone which interrupts family conversation.

So it is appropriate and indispensable that we pray in accord with the Pope’s intention that today’s families may be accompanied with love, respect, and guidance. To accompany means to support, encourage, walk with and stand up with and for families.

Who can do this? I think of Church and civil authorities, but first of all, I look to the family itself and to other families. It starts there, with grandparents, relatives and friends. In accepting the sacrament of matrimony, every Christian family pledges to be a sign, witness, model and encouragement to accompany to other families. The sacrament gives grace and power to do this in imitating the Holy Family.

-With love by reaching out, helping if there is need, by sharing wisdom and experience.

-With respect, not interfering, but assisting; not replacing, but honoring. The Catholic Catechism (#2219) speaks of respect IN the family for the old and young, the weak and the strong.

-With guidance, by setting a good example for other families, and by praying for God’s Spirit to guide their members.

Indeed, in this month let us all pray that today’s families may be accompanied with love, respect and guidance.

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

 

Holy Father’s Prayer of Intention: JUNE

We pray that all those who suffer may find their way in life, allowing themselves to be touched by the Heart of Jesus.

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I picked up a scrap of paper that was placed under the statue of the Sacred Heart in the church. Someone had written a one line prayer that was invested with a gem-like faith. It read: O Sacred Heart of Jesus, fill the hearts of the new First Communion children with your presence of love always. This is a prayer of wonder and mystery. It is in keeping with the prayer intention of this month that people, including children may “find their way in life, allowing themselves to be touched by the Heart of Jesus.”

The scrap of paper under the statue reminds us of the scraps of everyday experiences of grace that we fail to collect because we are too busy, too pre-occupied and maybe we delude ourselves into thinking that we are too sophisticated for the beauty and simplicity of prayer.

So often we come to God’s altar with empty “heart-baskets” because we have neglected to collect the scraps of the ordinary, the everyday, the hum-drum, that etch for us all the traces of “the loving-kindness of the heart of our God” in the chaotic pattern of our hectic lives.

Let us strive to walk along the Way of the Heart on a daily basis and make our own the Father’s loving gaze upon humanity, acting in all things with the Heart of Jesus Christ. Let us also go to the places where men and women are suffering injustice, to help heal and support the brokenhearted.

Source: Apostleship of Prayer - John Cullen, Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (Ireland)