Tag Archives: brothers

2 April: Recognising dignity is the first act of care!

Saint Josephine Bakhita

This is the conclusion of Pope Francis’s message for the eighth World Day of Prayer and Reflection against Human Trafficking. this is marked on Saint Bakhita’s day, 8th February. All our posts for the month were in place awaiting publication when this message was issued, but Francis’s call to be conscious of, to recognise the dignity of each person accords with our Lenten theme.

Saint Bakhita shows us the way of transformation. Her life tells us that change is possible when one lets oneself be transformed by God’s care for each one of us. It is the care of mercy – it is the care of love that changes us deeply and makes us able to welcome others as brothers and sisters. Recognising the dignity of each person is the first act of care, it is the first act of care! Recognising dignity. And taking care of others is good for all, for those who give and those who receive, because it is not a unidirectional action, but rather it generates reciprocity. God took care of Josephine Bakhita; he accompanied her in the process of healing the wounds caused by slavery, until her heart, mind and inner self became capable of reconciliation, freedom and tenderness.

I encourage every woman and every girl who is committed to transformation and care, in school, in the family, and in society. And I encourage every man and every boy not to be left out of this process of transformation, recalling the example of the Good Samaritan: a man who is not ashamed to tend to his brother and to take care of him. Taking care is God’s action in history, in our personal history and in our history as a community. God has taken care ‘of’, and takes care ‘for’ us continually.

Caring together, men and women, is the appeal of this World Day of Prayer and reflection against human trafficking: together we can encourage the growth of an economy of care, opposing with all our might every form of exploitation in human trafficking.

Dear sisters and dear brothers, I know that many of you are participating in this Day of prayer and reflection, from various countries and different religious traditions. I wish to express my gratitude and encouragement to all of you: let us go forward in the struggle against human trafficking and every form of slavery and exploitation. I invite you all to keep your indignation alive – keep your indignation alive! – and to find, every day, the strength to engage with determination on this front. Do not be afraid of the arrogance of violence, no! Do not surrender to the corruption of money and power.

Thank you all, and keep going, do not be discouraged! May God bless you and your work. Thank you.

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Pope Francis’s prayer for Peace in Ukraine.

Crucifix in WInchester Cathedral.


Pope Francis shared this prayer at his weekly general audience on 16 March. It was written by Archbishop Domenico Battaglia of Naples.

Forgive us for the war, Lord. 
Lord Jesus, son of God, have mercy on us sinners. 
Lord Jesus, born under the bombs of Kyiv, have mercy on us. 
Lord Jesus, dead in the arms of a mother in Kharkiv, have mercy on us. 
Lord Jesus, in the 20-year-olds sent to the frontline, have mercy on us. 
Lord Jesus, who continues to see hands armed with weapons under the shadow of the cross, forgive us, Lord. 
Lord Jesus, born under the bombs of Kyiv, have mercy on us. 
Lord Jesus, dead in the arms of a mother in Kharkiv, have mercy on us. 
Forgive us if, not content with the nails with which we pierced your hand, we continue to drink from the blood of the dead torn apart by weapons. 
Forgive us if these hands that you had created to protect have been turned into instruments of death. 
Forgive us, Lord, if we continue to kill our brother. 
Forgive us, Lord, if we continue to kill our brother, if we continue like Cain to take the stones from our field to kill Abel. 
Forgive us if we go out of our way to justify cruelty, if, in our pain, we legitimise the cruelty of our actions.       Forgive us for the war, Lord. 
Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, we implore you to stop the hand of Cain, 
enlighten our conscience, 
let not our will be done, 
do not abandon us to our own doing. 
Stop us, Lord, stop us, 
and when you have stopped the hand of Cain, take care of him also.
 He is our brother. 
O Lord, stop the violence. 
Stop us, Lord. Amen.

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21 March: It’s not a disease.

This post is from an article by Dominique Greiner in Croire-La Croix of 4.02.2022. In it he cites Pope Francis urging us to be conscious of old people as our elder brothers and sisters worthy of our respect, worthy of our spending time with them.

Growing  old is not a disease nor a cause for sadness. Old age is a new stage of our life. For sure it can be marked by a decline in strength and various unpleasantnesses due to age, but that doesn’t take away anything  from people’s dignity or the respect that is their due.

Pope Francis has denounced the abandonment of old people as a hidden euthanasia, brought about by our throwaway culture. “Old People’s Care Homes should be the lungs of humanity in a country, a neighbourhood, a parish.  They should be sanctuaries of humanity, where a person who is old and frail is treated like an elder brother or sister.” In other words, caring for old people is not just for the professionals. Each one of us should feel concerned about the well-being of our elders. Even if we only visit them regularly, we are showing them that we haven’t abandoned them, and they are still important in our eyes.

So who in our neighbourhood or extended family should be receiving a word, a letter, an email, a visit from you or me these next few days? And what about a thought and a prayer for the carers who enable families to live their own lives, with their own duties and responsibilities?

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20 August: A little cool air seeps in.

It’s the feast of Saint Bernard, one of the founding fathers of the Cistercian reform of monastic life. Our reflection is from Thomas Merton, writing in 1952. The celebration of the Eucharist has changed in religious communities as much, if not more than in parishes; there is one Community Mass each day, but there is still room for silence with God.

Our picture is from the trailer for Outside the City, a film by Nick Hamer about the Monks of Mount Saint Bernard’s Abbey in Leicestershire. Read on for Thomas Merton’s reflection on this day.

This week it is my turn to say the brothers’ Communion Mass, Our Lady’s Mass. It is always a Votive Mass of the Blessed Virgin, always the same. I like it that way.

In the summer time, this Mass is said at three o’clock in the morning. So I leave the choir after morning meditation to go and say it while the rest of the monks recite Matins and Lauds. I generally finish the brothers’ Communions by the end of the second nocturne, and then go off into the back sacristy and kneel in the dark behind the relic case next to Saint Malachy’s altar, while the sky grows pale outside over the forest and a little cool air seeps in through the slats of the broken shutters.

The birds sing, and the crickets sing, and one priest is silent with God.

Thomas Merton, The Sign of Jonas, Hollis & Carter, London, 1953, p336.

https://wordpress.com/post/agnellusmirror.wordpress.com/25775

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25 April: A larger family.

I would not have expected to be quoting Dr Johnson on Education Sunday, but he gives us something to think about, especially his final sentence.

‘Sir, the life of a parson, of a conscientious clergyman, is not easy. I have always considered a clergyman as the father of a larger family than he is able to maintain. I would rather have Chancery suits* upon my hands than the cure of souls. No, Sir, I do not envy a clergyman’s life as an easy life, nor do I envy the clergyman who makes it an easy life.’

Boswell’s Life of Johnson, Vol 3.

Pope Francis sees religious vocations as part of the ‘ordinary pastoral life’ of the Church, and his prayer for today asks for each one of us the gifts of boundless compassion, abundant generosity, and radical availability.

Dear friends, on this day in particular, but also in the ordinary pastoral life of our communities, I ask the Church to continue to promote vocations. May she touch the hearts of the faithful and enable each of them to discover with gratitude God’s call in their lives, to find courage to say “yes” to God, to overcome all weariness through faith in Christ, and to make of their lives a song of praise for God, for their brothers and sisters, and for the whole world. May the Virgin Mary accompany us and intercede for us.

Pope Francis, World Day of Prayer for Vocations, 2020.

Prayer for World Day of Prayer for Vocations

  • Holy Spirit,  stir within us the passion to promote vocations to the consecrated life, societies of apostolic life, diocesan priesthood, and permanent diaconate.
  • Inspire us daily to respond to Your call with boundless compassion, abundant generosity, and radical availability.
  • Help us to remember our own baptismal call to rouse us to invite the next generation to hear and respond to Your call.
  • Inspire parents, families, and lay ecclesial ministers to begin a conversation with young Catholics to consider how they will live lives of holiness and sacred service.
  • Nudge inquirers and motivate discerners to learn more about monastic life, apostolic life, missionaries, cloistered contemplative life, and evangelical Franciscan life.
  • Ignite our Church with the confident humility that there is an urgent need for religious sisters, brothers, deacons, and priests to live in solidarity with those who are poor, neglected, and marginalised.
  • Disrupt our comfortable lives and complacent attitudes with new ideas to respond courageously and creatively with a daily ‘YES!’  Amen.

* Chancery Courts were concerned with domestic matters including adoptions, custody disputes and divorces; guardianships; sanity hearings; wills; and challenges to constitutionality of state laws.

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