Monthly Prayers – December

Advent

Introduction

What can Advent teach us about waiting?  First of all, we who are rich must open our eyes to the poor, who have no option but to wait. We must share their patient vigil as they wait for a more just world, and their struggle to bring it about. We struggle to diminish the length of their waiting.

Why does the Lord delay?  Why do the poor still have to go on crying out for justice, 2000 years after the coming of Christ?  Why does not God bring about a world in which all of humanity may flourish now?

We do not know the answer to that, but at the very least we must live with the urgency of the question.  Perhaps one tiny element of a response is in deepening our understanding of how God comes.  Our God is not a powerful, celestial superman.  The coming of God is not like the cavalry galloping to our rescue.  God comes from within, in our deepest interiority.

During Advent, we practise patience as we wait and watch for the coming of the Lord.  Like midwives gathered around the bed, we await the birth.  But God’s coming was not just the birth of a child; it was the coming of a word.  One might even say that it was the coming of a language.

It needed hundreds of years for English to evolve to the point at which Shakespeare might write Hamlet.  The language had to be formed by poets and lawyers, preachers, philosophers and peasants, by nurses and gravediggers, before it was ready.  In a similar way, it needed thousands of years before there was a language in which God’s word could be spoken in the form of Jesus.  We needed all those experiences of liberation and exile, of the building and demolition of kingdoms.  We needed innumerable prophets and scribes and poets, struggling to find words before Jesus could be born as the Word.  The Word of God does not come down from heaven like a celestial Esperanto.  It wells up from within human language.

Waiting for the coming of God is not, then, mere passivity.  We do not only wait with the poor, we share their struggles.  We must be attentive to the experience of the poor, so that together we gestate a language in which their hopes may find expression.  Then indeed we may have words into which the Word of God may come and find a home.

          Extracted from “Just One Year”, by Timothy Radcliffe OP

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Mother and daughter duo complete 70-mile challenge for CAFOD

A Horwich based mother and daughter duo have raised more than £10,000 for the development charity CAFOD over the last ten years, and recently embarked on the second half of a 140-mile walking challenge.Christine and Elizabeth.jpg

Last year Elizabeth and Christine Dewhurst set off to tackle the first half of the Glyndŵr’s Way in Wales.  On Saturday 16 September, they returned to complete the latter 70 miles of the walk, taking a week to finish the mammoth walk.

Christine has been supporting CAFOD for 40 years since setting up a CAFOD group in her local parish at St Mary’s, Horwich.   When Christine was setting off to walk Hadrian’s Wall in 2007 with her friend, her daughter Elizabeth decided to join in and collect sponsorship for the charity.

Christine said: “It all started when Elizabeth said she’d like to join my friend and I on the Hadrian’s Wall walk in 2007 and raise some money.  Since then, we’ve completed ten long distance walks together for CAFOD.

“I’m just conscious that we are very lucky and some people don’t have such luck, which is why it’s great to be able to raise money for CAFOD to help.”

Elizabeth said: “I like supporting CAFOD because they need money to help others.  They provide clean water in developing countries, help people to grow their own food and help so that children can go to school.”

Elizabeth has raised more than £10,000 for CAFOD since the 2007 Hadrian’s wall walk, and this year her sponsorship surpassed the £1,000 mark after just a few weeks of fundraising.

Ann Wilson, CAFOD’s local representative in Bolton, added: “Christine and Elizabeth are a great pair and very committed to CAFOD.  We’re so grateful for the work they’ve done over the years.  We all kept our fingers crossed that the weather stayed dry for them!”

Have you been doing some fundraising this Harvest? We love hearing about it, so let us know!

You can email salford@cafod.org.uk or call the Salford office on 0161 705 0605. 

Monthly Prayers – October 2017

Awaken to the mystery of being here, and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.  (John O’Donohue)

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Opening Prayer:

O God of the poor and meek, form us into people who do not conform to the patterns of this world but who conform to the norms of your upside-down kingdom.  Give us the eyes to see you in those who suffer.  Surprise us in the faces of the least of these.  Move us into the margins of this world, and help us to find you there, in your most distressing disguises.

                             (Common Prayer for Ordinary Radicals)

 

Scripture      Zechariah 8:20-23

20 Thus says the Lord of hosts: Peoples shall yet come, the inhabitants of many cities; 21 the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, “Come, let us go to entreat the favour of the Lord, and to seek the Lord of hosts; I myself am going.” 22 Many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, and to entreat the favour of the Lord. 23 Thus says the Lord of hosts: In those days ten men from nations of every language shall take hold of a Jew, grasping his garment and saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”

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Luke 9:51-62

51 When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to

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make ready for him; 53 but they did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. 54 When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” 55 But he turned and rebuked them. 56 Then they went on to another village.

57 As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” 59 To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 60 But Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

 

Reflection

The latter half of Luke’s gospel, as Jesus embarks on his great journey to his death at Jerusalem, is marked by his teaching on the difficulties and challenges of discipleship.  Right at the beginning comes the little lesson that the disciple must not be surprised, or take vengeance, at rejection.  Then, three lessons on the uncompromising demands of discipleship.  These are not “counsels of perfection”, but demanded of every disciple of Jesus…… These conditions may seem unfeeling and unacceptably harsh: Jesus expresses his teaching with maximum vigour.  This is partly the nature of the Semitic language, which rarely uses a comparative.  It is either day or night, no dusk!  But we must beware of softening what must remain hard.

          From “The Sunday Word” by Henry Wansborough OSB 

Intercessions

 

Closing Prayer

 

Lord, make us to walk in your way;

where there is love and wisdom,

there is neither fear nor ignorance;

where there is patience and humility,

there is neither anger nor annoyance;

where there is poverty and joy,

there is neither greed nor ambition;

where there is peace and true prayer,

there is neither care nor restlessness;

where there is the fear of God to guard the heart,

there no enemy can enter;

where there is mercy and prudence,

there is neither excess nor harshness;

this we know through the example

of him who laid down his life for us,

your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Amen.

                   (Saint Francis of Assissi: “The Admonitions XXVII”)

Join us for Monthly Prayers at CAFOD Salford, Katherine House, every first Tuesday of the month.