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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Monthly Prayer – November

Feast of St. Willibrord (658-739)

St Willibrord was the first of the great Anglo-Saxon missionaries to Europe.  He was known, not only for devotion to preaching the Gospel, but also for his joyfulness of character and holiness of life.

Opening Prayer:

O God, you have set before us a great hope

that your kingdom will come on earth,

and have taught us to pray for its coming.

We thank you for the signs of its dawning,

and we pray and work for the perfect day

when your will shall be done on earth as it is in heaven.

We pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Scripture      Romans 12:5-16

5So in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

Luke 14:13-24

13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.’

15 When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, ‘Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.’

16 Jesus replied: ‘A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, “Come, for everything is now ready.”

18 ‘But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, “I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.”

19 ‘Another said, “I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.”

20 ‘Still another said, “I have just got married, so I can’t come.”

21 ‘The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, “Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.”

22 ‘“Sir,” the servant said, “what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.”

23 ‘Then the master told his servant, “Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. 24 I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.”’

 

Reflection

Luke demonstrates (to his mainly gentile, well-to-do audience) the inclusive nature of Jesus’s kingdom banquet.  He shows that God, through Jesus, was faithful to promises made to Israel but in an unexpected way, to include gentiles, the unclean, the poor, women, Samaritans, rich tax-collectors, and other outcasts and late-comers.

(from the New Jerome Bible Handbook)

 –

Intercessions

 

Blessing

The blessing of the Trinity….

the blessing of God

who is in this place and every place;

the blessing of Jesus

who is among us, often unrecogtnised;

the blessing of the Holy Spirit

encouraging us to welcome, and to feel at home;

…be with us all.

As we leave this place, may our life in community reflect the dance of the Trinity, by which the world is blessed.

Amen.

                   Prayers adapted from Iona Abbey Worship Book

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

Four ways to get involved with Power to Be

Every child has the power to achieve great things, yet without access to electricity, the world’s children are being held back from living life to the full. Renewable energy gives children the power to break free from poverty. By supporting our Power to Be campaign, you and your parish can change lives for good.

 

Here are four ways to launch Power to Be in your parish:

1. Sign cards in your community

Order campaign action cards for everyone in your parish and get people to sign and send them to Melanie Robinson, the UK’s representative at the World Bank, to ask her to support renewable energy to tackle poverty, so that everyone can fulfil their God-given potential.

  1. Organise a Power to Be liturgy

Invite your parish or school to pray together with our Power to Be liturgy. You can even involve the children with our new children’s liturgy resource.

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CAFOD volunteers at Wardley Hall, sharing the Power to Be liturgy

  1. Spread the Word

Use our short talk and our prayers of intercession to get the word out in your parish. You can look at our organiser’s guide for more ideas. You could even meet with your MP.

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CAFOD Salford volunteers meeting with Julie Cooper MP

  1. Get creative

Create an eye-catching Power to Be sun display; perfect for children and adults alike!

St Brendan’s, Harwood in Bolton, set a great example earlier in the year, with their sun display which had promises to save energy, prayers for change and messages to the World Bank on its rays. Can you do something similar?

We have already had some fantastic responses to our campaign, but there is still time for you to get involved and make a difference!

Find out more about Power to Be here.