GENERAL INTENTION-Eastern Catholic Churches
That the Eastern Catholic Churches and their venerable traditions may be known and esteemed as a spiritual treasure for the whole Church.
In a 1995 Apostolic Letter entitled “The Light of the East,” Blessed John Paul II said that “the venerable and ancient tradition of the Eastern Churches is an integral part of the heritage of Christ’s Church” and that “the first need for Catholics is to be familiar with that tradition.” In his Encyclical Mother of the Redeemer, Pope John Paul said that Roman Catholics should experience the riches of Eastern Christianity so that “the Church can begin once more to breathe fully with her ‘two lungs,’ the East and the West.”
Pope Benedict shares his predecessor’s deep desire for unity between Catholics and Orthodox Christians who share the rites and traditions of Eastern Christianity. A year ago he encouraged “all the Eastern Churches to preserve their own identity, which is at the same time both Eastern and Catholic.” Thus we pray this month that these traditions may be better known and esteemed as a spiritual treasure of the whole Church.
Reflection:What do you know about the Eastern Catholic Churches? Are there particular traditions and practices that you find helpful to you?
1 Corinthians 12:1-6 There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit.
MISSION INTENTION-Justice and Reconciliation in Africa
That the African continent may find strength in Christ to pursue justice and reconciliation as set forth by the Second Synod of African Bishops.
The 2009 special Synod of African Bishops meeting in Rome took as its theme: “The Church in Africa in Service to Reconciliation, Justice, and Peace.” Pope Benedict asks us to pray this month that the graces of that Synod may spread throughout Africa.
At that Synod, the African Bishops addressed the entire Church: “Science and technology are making giant strides in all aspects of life…, [but in Africa] the tragic situations of refugees, abject poverty, disease and hunger are still killing thousands on a daily basis.”
Such suffering may be hard for us to imagine. If thousands of people were dying every day in our own country, we would clamor for our government to do something. Yet the policies of developed nations, including our own, actually lie behind the tragedy of African suffering.
Speaking to the “great powers” of this world, the African Bishops pleaded: “Treat Africa with respect and dignity. Africa has been calling for a change in the world economic order, with unjust structures piled heavily against her. Recent turmoil in the financial world shows the need for a radical change of rules. Many of the conflicts, wars, and poverty of Africa derive mainly from these unjust structures.”
Let us hear the pleas of both the African Bishops and Pope Benedict. Let’s pray that we, through our prayers and our work for a more just world, may help our African brothers and sisters “find strength in Christ to pursue justice and reconciliation.”
Reflection:Can you give an example of our country’s policies that may have an adverse effect on the people of Africa? How might you do something to work for a change in those policies?
Reading:1 Corinthians 12: 12-26 “If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it…”
PRAYER OF THE MONTH
O Master, Christ God, King forever, Maker of all things, I thank You for all the favors You granted me, and particularly for having given me your pure and life-giving Mysteries. I pray You, O gracious God and Lover of Mankind: keep me under your protection and under the shadow of your wings; grant that, until my last breath, I may worthily receive your holy Mysteries with a clear conscience, for the remission of my sins and for life everlasting. Amen.
- from the Byzantine Liturgy, Thanksgiving Prayer of St. Basil the Great