CAFOD PRAYERS for Thursday 17th December 2015

Opening Prayer

Praised be you, my Lord, with all your creatures,
especially Sir Brother Sun who is the day
and through whom you give us light.
Praised be you, my Lord, through Sister Moon and stars,
in heaven you formed them clear and precious and beautiful.
Praised be you, my Lord, through Sister Water,
who is very useful and humble and precious and chaste.
Through the mystery of the Incarnation, Christ is intimately present in the world around us. When we see the gifts of the earth in the light of the Lord, we have a deeper understanding of how to care for our common home.
Yet, for many in our world today, this is not a warm, welcoming home. Many of our sisters and brothers do not have enough food or water, and struggle to provide for their families. Some of our fellow creatures are endangered, and are not treated with respect.
Let us call to mind the times we have held our neighbours or other creatures back from blossoming. We ask God for forgiveness:

For the times we have wasted your gifts,
Lord have mercy.
For the times we have not considered the needs of others,
Christ have mercy.
For the times we have we have despaired and given up our hope in you,
Lord have mercy.

Scripture reading Proverbs 3:13-20
Happy are those who find wisdom,
    and those who get understanding,
 for her income is better than silver,
    and her revenue better than gold.
 She is more precious than jewels,
    and nothing you desire can compare with her.
 Long life is in her right hand;
    in her left hand are riches and honor.
 Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
    and all her paths are peace.
 She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her;
    those who hold her fast are called happy.
 The Lord by wisdom founded the earth;
    by understanding he established the heavens;
 by his knowledge the deeps broke open,
    and the clouds drop down the dew.
For a few moments, think about what gifts the Lord has blessed you with in your life. How has the hand of God been outstretched to you?

Scripture reading Mark 10:17-21
A paraphrase, from the rich man’s perspective.

Reflection on the Gospel passage
“Jesus looked steadily at the man, and was filled with love for him”. For a few moments, be still and let the eyes of the Lord look upon you. What is God asking of you?

Prayers of Intercession
Like Jesus, we are called to be present to each other and to every part of God’s creation. Let us ask the Lord to help us to look at the world with the eyes of love.

A CAFOD story
“The Lord, in the culmination of the mystery of the Incarnation, chose to reach our intimate depths through a fragment of matter. He comes, not from above, but from within; he comes that we might find him in this world of ours”. Laudato Si’ #236
The Lord is with us here and now; through the trees, through the stars, and through the person next to us. We are called to see God reflected in all that exists. In this way, the Lord brings us together into a deep communion. We are part of the earth, and we belong to each other as children of God.
Our opening prayer included our sister water, humble, precious and chaste. This CAFOD story about Juana from Guatemala is a small example of a large problem.

Juana lives with her daughter and her three sons in Guatemala.
Every day, Juana and her children used to walk miles and miles to collect water, because there was no water supply in her village. The burden of having to collect water weighed heavily on Juana, and her children often became ill from the dirty water.
Thanks to a World Gift given by a group of parishioners through CAFOD, Juana and her children now have their own clean water supply. Now her children are healthier, and they have more time to spend together as a family.
Juana says, “I am very happy that my children don’t have to walk long distances to pick up water, nor to wash clothes in the river. Thank you very much to CAFOD. God bless you.”

Closing prayer

God of hope, we cling to you, for you renew the face of the earth.
Through the gift of your Son, our Lord Jesus, at Christmas, we follow you on the path of dawn.
Enlightened by your love and wisdom, help us to lead each other and all creatures back to your open arms.
Let us go forth this Christmastide, radiant with the love of Christ, to share gifts of hope and joy with our global family.
And may God bless us all, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

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