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?
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.”