July 2017

Pope's Prayer Intention

Lapsed Christians: 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.

“I feel so helpless. It seems so hopeless. What can I do to get my adult children back to church?” These words can be heard in almost every family. It’s something that Pope Francis has heard and this month he asks us to do something in response.

First, he asks us to pray for “our brothers and sisters.” Those who have left the faith are still children of the Father who created them. Through baptism they are members of the Body of Christ. If we are concerned for them, how much more is Jesus, who shed his Precious Blood for them. When we pray, we share our concern with the Lord who shares his concern with us. Sharing in this way, we are drawn closer to Jesus.

Then we act. Not nagging, but gently loving. Members of the Body of Christ, we make the merciful love of Jesus tangible to others. The only sermon they may hear and listen to is the one we preach with our loving actions. Through us, those who are wandering can “rediscover the merciful closeness of the Lord and the beauty of the Christian life.” Our continued prayer brings grace into their lives and it changes us so that our witness is more consistent.

Pope Francis said: “Let us all remember this: one cannot proclaim the Gospel of Jesus without the tangible witness of one’s life. Those who listen to us and observe us must be able to see in our actions what they hear from our lips, and so give glory to God! I am thinking now of some advice that St. Francis of Assisi gave his brothers: preach the Gospel and, if necessary, use words. Preaching with your life, with your witness. Inconsistency on the part of pastors and the faithful between what they say and what they do, between word and manner of life, is undermining the Church’s credibility.”

“It is not hopeless and we are not helpless.” That is the motto of a group of people who pray for loved ones who have wandered away from the Church. They share a deep concern for the lost sheep. They’re called the “Marian Mantle Group” and they can be found online at www.marianmantle.com or by calling 913-526-8977.

Reflection and Discussion

What has helped you pray for “wandering sheep?” What have you found helpful in bringing them back?

Scripture

James 5: 19-20 “Whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.”

June 2017

Pope's Prayer Intention

National Leaders: That national leaders may firmly commit themselves to ending the arms trade, which victimizes so many innocent people.

Urgent Prayer Intention

War and Terrorism: May the Holy Spirit grant peace to the entire world.  May He heal the wounds of war and terrorism, which most recently struck innocent civilians in London.  Let us pray for the victims and their families.

In his Farewell Address, President Eisenhower, said “we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence by the military-industrial complex.” Military arms, while part of legitimate defense, are also big business. “We annually spend on military security alone more than the net income of all United States corporations.” This reality has an “economic, political, even spiritual” influence on everyone.

Selling arms or giving them as aid has grown since 1961. The world’s arms trade went from $35 to $70 billion in 2011. It’s now approaching 100 billion and of this, the U.S. has 33% of the share while Russian has 25%. The U.S. provides arms to 96 countries. There also exists a huge black market that fuels terrorism, wars, and other violence.

Addressing the U.S. Congress, Pope Francis said we need “to end the many armed conflicts throughout our world. Here we have to ask ourselves: Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade.”

He asked Italian children “why is it that so many powerful people don’t want peace? Because they live on war! The powerful, some of the powerful, profit from the production of arms and they sell arms to this country which is against that one, and then they sell them to the one that goes against this one. It is the industry of death! And they profit.”

Greed fuels the arms trade: “You know, greed does us so much harm. When we see that the economic system revolves around money and not around the person, but around money — so much is sacrificed and war is made to protect the money. And because of this, many people don’t want peace. There is more profit with war! Money is earned, but lives are lost, culture is lost, education is lost, so many things are lost.”

Discussion

Disarmament—laying aside military weapons— depends upon the disarmament of hearts. In what ways is my heart “armed” and ready to fight?

Scripture

Isaiah 2: 2-5 When God’s instruction is followed and his will is done, then weapons of destruction will be turned into farming implements. The inconceivable sums of money that are spent on weapons will be used to provide for the poor of the world.