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.”

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.”