August is a month traditionally dedicated to Mary's Immaculate Heart and it presents us an opportunity to reflect on her role in our lives. In particular, as members of the Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network we recognize the Blessed Mother's unique connection with Jesus, and how during her life she treasured everything, “in her heart” (cf. Luke 2:19,51).Read More
This month Pope Francis has asked us to pray "that artists of our time, through their ingenuity, may help everyone discover the beauty of creation."
Artists can truly help us see the beauty of creation, but at times their work to preserve the environment can detract instead of add to the beauty. Pope Francis explained in his encyclical Laudato si' how artists should respect the cultural patrimony of a particular region when trying to respect God's creation.
He wrote, "Together with the patrimony of nature, there is also an historic, artistic and cultural patrimony which is likewise under threat. This patrimony is a part of the shared identity of each place and a foundation upon which to build a habitable city. It is not a matter of tearing down and building new cities, supposedly more respectful of the environment yet not always more attractive to live in. Rather, there is a need to incorporate the history, culture and architecture of each place, thus preserving its original identity."
A proper ecology, instead of wiping the slate clean, "involves protecting the cultural treasures of humanity in the broadest sense. More specifically, it calls for greater attention to local cultures when studying environmental problems, favouring a dialogue between scientific-technical language and the language of the people. Culture is more than what we have inherited from the past; it is also, and above all, a living, dynamic and participatory present reality, which cannot be excluded as we rethink the relationship between human beings and the environment."
Pope Francis even went so far as to write, "The disappearance of a culture can be just as serious, or even more serious, than the disappearance of a species of plant or animal. The imposition of a dominant lifestyle linked to a single form of production can be just as harmful as the altering of ecosystems."
We must remember that creation includes the human person and the cultural history that we have all inherited. Pope Francis exhorts artists to be good stewards both of creation and of culture.
As we contemplate different ways we can respond to Pope Francis' prayer intention for August, we should keep in mind the preservation of culture.
As the Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network, it is fitting for us to pray for this particular intention of the Pope and join together in prayer, entrusting the situation to Jesus's Most Sacred Heart.Read More
In light of this month's intention, it is good to meditate on the reality that our hearts are restless until we find the happiness that will satisfy our hearts. As the Psalmist writes, "O God, you are my God—it is you I seek! For you my body yearns; for you my soul thirsts, In a land parched, lifeless, and without water" (Psalm 63:2).Read More
This month Pope Francis sheds light on those Christian who have strayed away from the faith and explains a primary way these Christians will return to the faith. His intention prays, "that our brothers and sisters who have strayed from the faith, through our prayer and witness to the Gospel, may rediscover the merciful closeness of the Lord and the beauty of the Christian life."Read More
Often when we hear the word “meditation,” we think of a Buddhist monk sitting on the floor, eyes closed, emptying his mind from everything so that he literally thinks about nothing. This is why many people balk at the idea of meditating on God’s Word, either not knowing what to do or being intimidated by it.Read More
One of the central aspects of the Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network is a spirituality centered on the Heart of Jesus. It is from this Heart that we receive a mission and are "sent out to the margins of human life in different ways...We are sent to the places where men and women are suffering injustice, to help heal and support the brokenhearted."Read More
We live in a culture of immediacy and often take that same thought process into our prayer life. We don’t want to sit-down and read the whole bible…we want it to be summarized in three short sentences.Read More
As we progress through various methods of prayer, we come upon the very ancient method of lectio divina. Translated as “divine reading,” lectio divina is a way of praying that allows a soul to immerse themselves into sacred scripture and ruminate on the Word of God. Above all else it is an exercise in listening to the voice of God and hearing what He has to say to us.Read More
The past week has been one marked with horrific violence in places such as Manchester, Egypt and the Philippines. Pope Francis used his Sunday Angelus to make an appeal for an increase in prayers for all those affected by these senseless tragedies.Read More
How do we spend that extra time we have? What is the first item on the to-do list to be erased when something comes up during that time? Where are our priorities? Or as Jesus would say it, “where is your treasure?”Read More
This past weekend Pope Francis marked the historic occasion of the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima. He did so by visiting the shrine in Portugal and canonizing two of the visionaries, Saint Francisco and Saint Jacinta.Read More
Pope Francis' Evangelization Intention this month focuses on Africa, "That Christians in Africa, in imitation of the Merciful Jesus, may give prophetic witness to reconciliation, justice, and peace."
Christians in Africa face many challenges and unfortunately many of us in the United States are not aware of these situations. One example is the famine occurring in South Sudan.Read More
May 13, 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima and Pope Francis is commemorating it by visiting Fatima and canonizing the two younger visionaries. Some Christians see the 100th anniversary as a time when the gates of Hell will be unleashed on humanity, but the central message of Fatima is quite different. In fact, it is very hopeful.Read More
One of the best and most ancient spiritual analogies that describes our life here on earth is the ship sailing towards the harbor of heaven. Saint Thérèse explained that it was one of her favorite analogies:
“[T]he symbol of a ship always delights me and helps me to bear the exile of this life. Does not the Wise Man tell us—”Life is like a ship that passeth through the waves: when it is gone by, the trace thereof cannot be found”? – Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, The Story of a Soul.
This month Pope Francis has asked us to pray, "That young people may respond generously to their vocations and seriously consider offering themselves to God in the priesthood or consecrated life." Discernment of one's vocation is certainly not easy, and I know from personal experience.Read More
Last month, Pope Francis asked us to pray for persecuted Christians. In light of recent events in Egypt, it is appropriate to renew our prayers for the many Christians throughout the world who are suffering at the hands of those opposed to the Gospel.Read More
After one year since the initial launch of Click to Pray, thousands of users around the world continue to use the innovative app to engage in the spirituality of the Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network. It is a great tool to deepen a person's spiritual life and one of the many methods of entering into the Way of the Heart.
But what is Click to Pray?Read More