September 2017

Pope's Prayer Intention

Parishes: That our parishes, animated by a missionary spirit, may be places where faith is communicated and charity is seen.

In his Message for the 2017 World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Pope Francis wrote: “All Christians are called to be missionaries of the Gospel! As disciples, we do not receive the gift of God’s love for our personal consolation, nor are we called to promote ourselves, or a business concern. We are simply men and women touched and transformed by the joy of God’s love, who cannot keep this experience just to ourselves.”

We experience God’s love in prayer and community, especially in the celebration of the Eucharist. There, our intimate encounter with Jesus leads us to share the concerns and desires of his Heart which move us beyond focusing just on ourselves or our own parish community.
In 2001 Pope St. John Paul II wrote: “our Christian communities must become genuine ‘schools’ of prayer. By opening our heart to the love of God it also opens it to the love of our brothers and sisters, and makes us capable of shaping history according to God’s plan.”

Strengthened in faith and charity at the Eucharist, we look outwards to the millions
who do not know Jesus. We reach out to them with our prayer and acts of charity. At the same time, we form a parish community that will attract people to Christ and his Body, the Church.
In a General Audience last October, Pope Francis offered the example of St. Therese of Lisieux, one of the Apostleship of Prayer’s patrons: “she reminds us that the real mission is never proselytism, but rather attraction to Christ, beginning with strong union with him in prayer, adoration and concrete acts of charity, which is service to Jesus present in the least of our brothers and sisters.”

Reflection and Discussion

What is meant by “a missionary spirit”? In what ways is my community a place “where faith is communicated and charity is seen”?

Scripture

Acts 2: 42-47 “All who believed were together and had all things in common. Every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.”

August 2017

Pope's Prayer Intention

Artists: That artists of our time, through their ingenuity, may help everyone discoverthe beauty of creation.

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament proclaims his handiwork” (Psalm 19: 1). As creation reveals God’s beauty, so humans, made in God’s image and likeness, create works that give glory to God. The great Russian novelist Dostoevsky wrote that “beauty will save the world.” How? At the end of the Second Vatican Council the bishops told artists: “This world in which we live needs beauty in order not to sink into despair. It is beauty, like truth, which brings joy to the human heart and is that precious fruit which resists the wear and tear of time, which unites generations and makes them share things in admiration.” Beauty lifts the heart and brings people together. Pope Francis spoke of “the important and necessary task of artists: to create works of art that bear through the language of beauty a sign, a spark of hope and trust where people seem to give in to indifference and ugliness.” He went on to say: “Architects and painters, sculptors and musicians, filmmakers and writers, photographers and poets, artists of every discipline, are called to make beauty shine, especially where darkness and greyness dominate everyday life; they are custodians of beauty, heralds and witnesses of hope for humanity, as my predecessors have repeated many times. I invite them, therefore, to care for beauty, and beauty will heal the many wounds that mark the heart and soul of the men and women of our times.” However, artists can be tempted to create what is fashionable or shocking in order to make money or a name for themselves. They can create works that degrade humanity and foster conflict. We pray that artists use their gifts to heal and to give glory to God.

Reflection and Discussion

What are some of the most beautiful works of art I’ve seen? How did they give me joy and hope?How do they bring people together?

Scripture

Exodus 35: 10-35 “The Lord has chosen Bezalel and has filled him with a divine spirit of skill
and understanding and knowledge in every craft.”