WEDNESDAY PRAYER

21st October, 2020   

Psalm 85:  (From ‘Psalms Now’)
O God, you have indeed been good to us.
You have prospered our land. You have opened your heart to us in love.
You have forgiven our sins and adopted us as your children.
But now our country is in turmoil.
We no longer have confidence in our leaders. Our citizens are in revolt.
People are turning away from you and are being ensnared
by strange doctrines and godless philosophies.
We know that you have not turned away from us.
You touch with joy and peace the hearts that are open to you.
You stand ready to show your salvation to all who will trust in you.
As we speak to you in faith, you respond in loving concern.
You will give us what is good
and will prosper us with gifts from your hand.
You are holy and just. You love your children and will guide them
in your course for their lives.
Renew our faith, O God.
Forgive us our many failures and infidelities.
May our land continue to be a place where we can be free to love and serve you.
LITANY OF PRAISE:
Response to our prayers of praise and thanks is:
Lord, you are holy and just.
SCRIPTURE READINGPhilippians 4:4-9
Always be joyful in the Lord; I repeat, be joyful. Let your good sense be obvious to everybody.  The Lord is near. Never worry about anything; but tell God all your desires of every kind in prayer and petitions shot through with gratitude, and the peace of God which is beyond our understanding will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus. Finally, let your minds be filled with everything that is true, everything that is honourable, everything that is upright and pure, everything that we love and admire – with whatever is good and praiseworthy.  Keep doing everything you learnt from me and were told by me and have heard or seen me doing.  Then the God of peace will be with you.
The word of the Lord.

REFLECTION:  (Henri Nouwen)
To pray means to open your hands before God. It means slowly relaxing the tension which squeezes your hands together and accepting your existence with an increasing readiness, not as a possession to defend, but as a gift to receive. Above all, prayer is a way of life which allows you to find a stillness in the midst of the world where you open your hands to God’s promises and find hope for yourself, your neighbour and your world.  In prayer, you encounter God not only in the small voice and  the soft breeze, but also in the midst of the turmoil of the world, in the distress and joy of your neighbour and in the loneliness of your own heart. Prayer leads you to see new paths and to hear new melodies in the air. Prayer is the breath of your life which gives you freedom to go and to stay where you wish and to find the many signs which point out the way to a new land. Praying is not some necessary compartment in the daily schedule of a Christian or a source of support in time of need, nor is it restricted to Sunday mornings or mealtimes.  Praying is living. It is eating and drinking, action and rest, teaching and learning, playing and working.  Praying pervades every aspect of our lives. It is the unceasing recognition that God is wherever we are, always inviting us to come closer and to celebrate the divine gift of being alive.
In the end, a life of prayer is a life with open hands where we are not ashamed of our weakness but realise that it is more perfect for us to be led by the Other than to try to hold everything in our own hands.
INTERCESSIONS: Lord in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer
CLOSING PRAYER:
Dear Lord, I do not know where you are leading me.
I do not even know what my next day,
my next week or my next year will look like.
As I try to keep my hands open,
I trust that you will put your hand in mine and bring me home.
Thank you, Lord, for your love.  Thank you.  Amen.

UNIVERSAL PRAYER – 30th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Let us ask the help of God our Father, for He is our rock, our refuge and our mighty stronghold.
For Pope Francis, the Vicar of Christ here on earth, that, through the power of the Spirit, the Lord will give him the strength and the courage to complete the reforms he has already begun and reward him for his deeds of merciful love: we pray to the Lord.
Lord, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer
For the negotiators from our government and from the European Community, that the present Brexit talks may lead to a restoration of trust between the nations and a deep resolve to find solutions to the differences that threaten our future lives: we pray to the Lord.
Lord, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer
For the rising number of Coronavirus victims, both young and old, that the dead will be at peace and the survivors helped to recover through the skill and compassion of their doctors and carers: we pray to the Lord.
Lord, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer
For the families unable to meet together because of the severe COVID restrictions, that their loneliness and anxiety will be softened by the constant and loving concern of relatives, friends and neighbours: we pray to the Lord.
Lord, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer
For all God’s children, that we may set aside our fears and grow in our understanding of the love of the Father who created us, the love of the Son who died for us and the love of the Spirit who dwells in our hearts: we pray to the Lord.
Lord, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer
For Fr.Emeka and all the members of our parish community, that we may all be alive and alert to the needs of others and respond with generous hearts, loving words and practical help: we pray to the Lord.
Lord, in our mercy . . . Hear our prayer
Let us ask for the help and guidance of our Mother, Mary: Hail Mary . . .
Let us make our own prayers for all whom we know to be in special need of God’s healing love today.

God our Father, listen to our prayers and give us the courage and the enthusiasm to work together for the coming of Your Kingdom of truth and life, holiness and grace, justice, love and peace. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

UNIVERSAL PRAYER – 25th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

We turn to the Father of all good gifts, who is close to all who call on Him from their hearts.
For Pope Francis, that, empowered by God’s Spirit of Wisdom, his vision for the renewal of the whole created world will be an inspiration to all peoples: we pray to the Lord.
Lord, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer
For the leaders of the developed nations, that they may share their knowledge, research ad resources with the poorer nations to suppress and overcome the coronavirus all over the world: we pray to the Lord.
Lord, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer
For those subjected to renewed restrictions of lockdown, that they may show their love for, and generosity to their neighbours by doing all they can to prevent any further spread of the virus: we pray to the Lord.
Lord, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer
For all who provide us with God’s gift of food – farmers and fishermen, here and overseas, that they receive a just reward for their labour and may we, in our turn, do all we can to preserve the resources of our planet: we pray to the Lord.
Lord, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer
For our young people beginning college courses and especially those leaving home for the first time,  that, despite the unusual circumstances, they may enjoy the new opportunities offered to them and the possibilities of making new friendships: we pray to the Lord.
Lord, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer
For every member of our parish community, that, recognizing the boundless generosity of God, we may all strive to imitate Him and share all that we have been given: we pray to the Lord.
Lord, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer
Let us ask the help and the guidance of Mary, our Queen and Mother: Hail Mary . . .
Let us pray in our hearts for all those we know to be in need of God’s healing love this day.
Father, whose ways and thoughts are as high as the heavens above our ways and thoughts, please hear our prayers and answer them in the way that is best. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

WEDNESDAY PRAYER

16th September, 2020

Tomorrow is the Feast of the Stigmata of Saint Francis)

Psalm 39
I waited, I waited for the Lord and he stooped down to me, he heard my cry.
He drew me from the deadly pit, from the miry clay.
He set my feet upon a rock and made my footsteps firm.
He put a new song into my mouth, praise of our God.
Many shall see and fear and shall trust in the Lord.
Happy the one who has placed his trust in the Lord
and has not gone over to the rebels who follow false gods.
O let there be rejoicing and gladness for all who seek you!

LITANY OF PRAISE:
Our response to our prayers of praise and thanks is:
Lord of my life, let me live in your presence!

SCRIPTURE READING:  Galatians:6:14-17
As for me, the only thing I can boast about is the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world. It does not matter if a person is circumcised or not; what matters is for him to become an altogether new creature. Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule, who form the Israel of God.
The word of the Lord.

REFLECTION:

It was in 1224, two years before his death, that Francis went with his companions to La Verna, a mountain retreat. Round about the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross, September 14th, he had a vision in which he saw a man like a seraph – he had six wings and was standing above him with his hands outstretched and his feet joined together and was fixed to a cross. Francis was amazed and wondered what this vision might mean. He was filled with joy at the way the seraph was looking at him but the sight of his cruel suffering terrified him – joy and grief alternated in him – and as the strangeness of the vision continued to haunt him, the marks of the nails began to appear on his hands and feet, just like those he had seen on the crucified figure above him.
Francis had always sung the praises of the Almighty God throughout his life, but, in fact, when he arrived at la Verna, the song that had been flowing seemed to have died out. He was facing a terrible crisis. The movement he had founded was becoming institutionalized and was losing its evangelical intensity and some of his brothers questioned whether such a lifestyle was totally viable.
All this had repercussions for Francis’s own faith. He had begun to question the authenticity of everything that he had experienced so deeply. He doubted the divine origin of the plan he had for his life. These questions and doubts resounded amid an oppressive silence on God’s part. God no longer seemed to speak to him, despite his persistence in seeking God. Francis felt abandoned by God. He withdrew from his brothers. He did not want them to see him, since his countenance lacked its customary serenity. Thus God’s gift to Francis of a new song did not come during a time of personal peace and consolation. Rather God gave him the song at a time when – as the psalmist says – ‘foundations were being destroyed’ and everything seemed uncertain.
Through the Stigmata, God gave Francis a new depth of communion with him and conformed him to His death in a way that Francis had never experienced before. When Francis came down from the mountain, he looked at the world from the Lord’s Cross. He came down singing the new song that the Lord had put on his lips. Now Francis knew that he was not called to resolve everyone’s problems. Rather, he was to be a sign to everyone by freely giving himself to others in faithfulness, power, patience, diligence, mercy and joy!

INTERCESSIONS:  Lord, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer

CLOSING PRAYER:  (Hermann Shalluck OFM)

May the Lord bless us. May he fill our feet with dancing and our arms with strength. May he fill our hearts with tenderness and our eyes with laughter. May he fill our ears with music, our mouth with jubilation and our hearts with joy. May he give us all ever anew the strength to give hope a new face. May the Lord bless us. Amen.

UNIVERSAL PRAYER – 22nd SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Let us turn to the Father, whose love is better than life and from whom all good things come.
Let us pray for the Church all over the world; under the wise leadership of Pope Francis, may she be a beacon of hope to all peoples, proclaiming the truth and showing the path of life to which God calls each one of us.
Lord, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer
Let us pray for world governments; in all their deliberations and decision-making, may they give priority to the welfare of their people, ensuring a just distribution of resources and opportunities, no matter what their creed, their colour or their race.
Lord, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer
Let us pray for teachers, parents and children as they prepare for the new school year; in this time of uncertainty and fear, may rules be clearly laid down and adhered to, so that the children may, once again, enjoy their life in school and grow in confidence and knowledge.
Lord, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer
Let us pray for the victims of the recent natural disasters throughout the world – hurricanes, floods and fires; may help be given to restore their homes and livelihoods and to rebuild their communities and neighbourhoods.
Lord, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer
Let us pray for our parish community, especially the sick and those still self-isolating; may we all accept the crosses we have to bear in this life with generous hearts and may the Lord lighten our load and bless us with patience and peace.
Lord, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer
Let us ask the help of Mary, Comforter of the Afflicted, as we pray: Hail Mary . . .
In silence, let us make our own petitions to the Father of all mercies.
Father, listen to our prayers and grant us the wisdom to discover Your will for us and may we strive each day to carry it out. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

WEDNESDAY PRAYER -26th August, 2020

PSALM 148

Alleluia! Praise the Lord from the heavens, praise him in the heights. Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his host.
Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, shining stars.
Praise him, highest heavens and the waters above the heavens.
All earth’s kings and peoples, earth’s princes and rulers;
young men and maidens, old men together with children.
Let them praise the name of the Lord for he alone is exalted.
The splendour of his name reaches beyond heaven and earth.
He exults the strength of his people. He is the praise of all his saints,
of the sons of Israel, of the people to whom he comes close. Alleluia!

LITANY OF PRAISE:
The response to our prayers of praise and thanks is:

We praise the splendour of your name!

SCRIPTURE READING:  Luke 12:22-32
Jesus said to his disciples: I am telling you now not to worry about your life and what you are to eat, nor about your body and how you are to clothe it. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Think of the ravens. They do not sow or reap; they have no storehouses and no barns; yet God feeds them. And how much more you are worth than the birds! Can any of you, however much you worry, add a single cubit to your span of life?  If a very small thing is beyond your powers, why worry about the rest? Think how the flowers grow; they never have to spin or weave; yet, I assure you, not even Solomon in all his royal robes was clothed like one of them. Now if that is how God clothes a flower which is growing wild today and is thrown into the furnace tomorrow, how much more will he look after you, who have so little faith! But you must not set your hearts on things to eat and things to drink; nor must you worry. It is the gentiles of this world who set their hearts on all these things. Your Father well knows you need them. No, set your hearts on his kingdom, and these other things will be given you as well. There is no need to be afraid, little flock, for it has pleased your Father to give you the kingdom.  The Gospel of the Lord.

REFLECTION:  (Fr.John Dalrymple)

Jesus said, “Seek first the Kingdom, and all else will be given unto you.” He does not ask us to cultivate an impassive indifference in life. He knows we are human beings as he was, and therefore needing to be passionately concerned and anxious about things. To be concerned, anxious and passionate is to be human. It is not something to be ashamed of, but something to rejoice in. To be without desires, a passionless pudding, is inhuman. Jesus was human, so he does not ask his followers to deny their desires. What he does is to re-direct those desires. Jesus directs our anxieties towards the true object of human aspirations; the only one which will fulfil them. This he called the Father’s Will, or the Kingdom of God.
Jesus’ gospel says: Strive fully after that; be thoroughly anxious about that; exercise all your human endeavour towards that. When you do so, you will find that you have little anxiety left for the things most people are anxious about in our consumer-oriented world. You will become less bothered about material comfort, spiritual gifts, social acceptance. Your strivings in that direction will diminish and fade. You will discover a pure beauty in Christ’s Kingdom which at first was not visible to you. Then you will discover that same beauty in the world, a beauty which you can fully enjoy because you are not now striving anxiously to possess it. It is there simply to enjoy for its own sake, and to give glory to God.
No wonder Jesus called his message Good News. It is good news to be told how to live in this beautiful world and love it properly.

INTERCESSIONS:   Lord, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer

CLOSING PRAYER:
O Lord, we know that we very often worry
about the things that may never happen.
Help us to live one day at a time,
and to live it for YOU, for your name’s sake.
Amen.