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Thank you and God bless,
Monday 18 February 2013
Intention:That our support for 40 Days for Life may be rooted in love as witnesses to the world of the love of God for all humanity from conception to natural death.Scripture:If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. (1 Cor 13:1-3)Reflection:This is St Paul’s exhortation on love from his first letter to the Corinthians. It is very popular at weddings and is often equated with romantic love. But when St Paul speaks here of love, the original Greek version tells us that it is not romantic love he speaks of, eros, but rather agape, fraternal love or charity. This love can be described as simply wanting to ‘will the good of another.’ It is a love that is associated not with any self-interest or personal gain; rather the sole motive of agape is to strive to reflect a fraction of God’s unfathomable love for all his people as we are all made in his image and likeness.That is what we bring to our vigils and prayers for the unborn at all times and especially during these 40 Days for Life. All our faithfulness to the Church and reasoned sensible arguments will stand for nothing unless they are rooted in love, that is; our desire to will the good of the women, their unborn children and the protestors and hostile passers-by that we may encounter; and that good is of course life itself.Prayer:God our Father, As we pray and witness to the sanctity of human life with our physical presence on the streets ensure our hearts remain firmly rooted in love for all those people we encounter. We ask this through Christ our Lord. AmenFr Graham StokesOur Lady of Grace and St Edward, Chiswick
Intention:For young people to know that they are made in God’s image and likeness and belong to Him, and so to strive to live with pure hearts and chaste love.Scripture:‘Do you not realise that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, and whom you have received from God? You are not your own property, then; you were bought at a price. Therefore use your body for the glory of God.’ (1 Cor 6:19-20)Reflection:Young people, like all of us, want to belong, because belonging makes us feel loved. We are made for love, which is an experience of the body, as well as the soul. So, naturally, we seek love and we seek to belong with our body, as well as our soul.We don't need to shout about how over-sexualised our culture is. Pornography and teen-sexual activity have become normalised and an accepted part of the scene. We know the damage this causes and the loneliness and darkness young people can find themselves in. We don't need to shout about that.What we do need to shout about is the truth that there is a real love that satisfies, for which our body and soul longs. The love of God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.We need to shout about our Father in heaven, who knows us by name and to whom we belong.We need to shout about our Saviour, Jesus, who has bought us with His own blood and forgives every sin through the sacrament of reconciliation.We need to shout about the power of the Holy Spirit - who lives within us through baptism, and makes it possible to be pure in our intentions and actions.We need to shout out the invitation to real love, to mercy and healing when we have fallen and have forgotten who we really are and to whom we belong.When I learn the value and dignity of my own life, when I learn the truth that I have been bought with a price and I am God's, then I come to know the value and dignity of every life and I desire to glorify God with my body.Prayer:God our Father, We pray that young people will hear the message of your love; the love for which they thirst. We pray for all who promote chastity and all involved in sex education in the home, school and parish.Lord, may your Church boldly proclaim the Gospel of life, that our young people will come to know that they have been bought with the blood of Jesus and belong to you. Help all of us to use our bodies to bring you glory in chaste and holy relationships and thus be spared the confusion and hurt of sexual immorality; especially that which leads to the tragedy of abortion. Amen.Fiona MansfordDirector, Pure in Heart
Saturday 16 February 2013
That all may come to recognize and treasure the Image of God in which every human being is created at the moment of conception.
So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Genesis 2:27-28)
The value of the human person lies not in the achievements, status or "viability" of any individual. It is something intrinsic to our human nature, and is to be found in every man, woman and child at every stage of existence from conception in the womb until the separation of body and soul at death, and beyond the grave into eternity. Its source is the image of God that is imprinted on our immortal souls. This divine image makes each and every innocent human life inviolable and truly sacred to God.
To worship God in spirit and in truth, we must always seek to honour that image that is emblazoned on the soul of every human being regardless of age, religion or nationality. Minister to our neighbour, and we minister to the Lord - in whose image our neighbour was created: "Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me." (Matthew 25:40). On this we shall be judged. To minister to the "least" - to the poor, the needy and the vulnerable - pays special honour to the Creator.
No-one is more poor, more needy, and more worthy of our protection than the child in the mother's womb. When we serve the interests of the unborn through prayer and faithful witness to the sanctity of these little ones, we can be sure that we do great honour to the Creator.
Heavenly Father, You created man in the beauty of your own image when you formed him from the dust of the ground and breathed into him the breath of life. Grant that all in the world will come to recognize this image in the heart and soul of every human being, and especially in the unborn child, so that in ministering to the least of our brethren we may pay honour to your glory. We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen
Fr Julian Large
The London Oratory
Friday 15 February 2013
Intention:Our intention today is to pray for those men and women facing the impact of abortion. That they are able to courageously face their pain, and experience deep healing in their soul. We pray that these people will, one day, in accordance with God’s will, be able to tell others about God’s miraculous healing in their lives.Scripture:“A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted for they are no more.” (Jeremiah 31:15)“Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.” (Luke8:48)Reflection:Today, we reflect on the thousands, more likely millions, of men and women, who have been impacted by the death of children through abortion. They face the responsibility of having made that decision, the pain and regret afterwards and the hopelessness that often follows. Some have felt suicidal, others numb, whilst others long deeply and mournfully for their children who are no more. The pain and conflicting emotions may dwell deep below the surface of their lives. Today it is known as Post-abortion Stress. We also reflect on Jesus, to whom many came for healing, when he walked this earth. We remember in particular the woman who touched His cloak, He asked, “Who touched me?” not in a condemning way, but He knew power had gone from Him. He told her that she had been healed by her faith in Him. She was liberated, restored and set free from her affliction. We want men and women who suffer from the aftermath of abortion, to come to Jesus, to be liberated by Him, and restored by his loving hand. We know that by His Holy Spirit, the deepest of healing can come, and that no one is excluded from His loving touch.Prayer:Heavenly Father, Lord of Life, and Comforter of our deepest pain, we come to you today. We worship at your feet, we call upon your Name, and ask you to bring your comfort, healing and restoration to all those who are afflicted with the pain of abortion. We pray for their souls, their inmost being, that you would answer their cries for help, and liberate them, that they in turn will have opportunity to tell of your great love.In Jesus Name, Amen.Angela CoakesForsaken, Taunton
Thursday 14 February 2013
That our hearts may be purified of all judgment and personal criticism, even of those involved in the abortion industry.
‘There is one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and destroy. But who are you that you judge your neighbour?’ (James 4:12)
Abortion is a particularly vile expression of the culture of death, and of the hatred that the Evil One has for the most innocent. We hate abortion from the depths of our hearts, but how easy it is for us to pass from hatred of the sin to judgment of the sinner. Then we soon find that, rather than overcoming hatred by love, we have been infected with it ourselves.
Only by regular, deep communion with Jesus Christ in prayer can we hope to purify our hearts of the spirit of judgment which he warns us against, because only in him is found that perfect combination of mercy and justice. Even his fierce denunciations of the Pharisees are full of the purest love for them and a desire that they be converted.
As with everything else, he will give us that purity of intention if we earnestly ask him for it, convinced that we cannot achieve it by our own efforts but by his grace alone. Nevertheless, he will normally only give it to us if we ask with perseverance.
In all this he has given us a great ally in his blessed Mother. In the heart of The Most Holy Virgin, as the Curé of Ars says, there is nothing but mercy. May she give us hearts like hers as we confront this great evil.
Father, you make your sun to shine on just and unjust alike, and you call us to be perfect as you are perfect. Take us beyond the limitations of our flawed human nature, and fill us with that spirit of humility which enabled your Son to confront evil with pure love. We beseech you to have mercy on sinner and victim alike, because we are all sinners in daily need of your grace. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen
Mgr. Keith Barltrop
St. Mary of the Angels, Bayswater
That all the campaigns across the UK will be blessed with God's grace and mercy; that there are enough prayer volunteers; that all volunteers are loving, kind and compassionate and that many women choose life for their babies.
‘All things were made through Him and without Him nothing came to be. Whatever has come to be, found life in Him, life which for men was also light. Light that shines in the dark: light that darkness could not overcome.’ (John 1 v 3-5)
As we enter Lent we are encouraged to think of Jesus in the wilderness preparing Himself for His coming ministry before eventually giving himself up to His agonizing abandonment and death on a cross.
This world may seem at present for us a very dark and sometimes lonely place and we may have much to endure but this is itself is a sign of hope - suffering is the preparation for love and joy to come. God uses the darkness to make His little candles of love shine even brighter. We are His little candles. No matter how small our light may be, whether it seems to be unnoticed or unfruitful, we must keep it burning and not let it be extinguished, for our faith tells us love is never wasted.
May we love enough to keep up our prayers and fasting, may we love enough to witness in public to others, may we love enough to show only kindness and compassion to those using abortion facilities and those who work there. May we never stop loving with a real love - a love based on faith not feelings.
Mother Teresa once wrote: 'The light you give must be so pure, the love you love with must be so burning - the faith you believe with must be so convincing - that in seeing you they really see only Jesus'.
Lord, we ask You to bless us with the gift of your love in all that we do during these 40 days. May it be the source of all our actions and govern our every thought. May Your love be imprinted so deeply on our hearts that no matter what hardships we face, our response will only ever be love, a love that will conquer the fears of all meet.
We ask this through Your Son Jesus who is love and mercy. Amen.
40 Days for Life, Birmingham