PEACE IN OUR TIME?
SPIRITUAL COMMUNION FOR THE SIXTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
✠In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
The grace of God has dawned upon the world
with healing for all.
Let us come to him, in sorrow for our sins,
seeking healing, peace and reconciliation.
I confess to almighty God
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have greatly sinned,
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done and in what I have failed to do,
through my fault, through my fault,
through my most grievous fault;
therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin,
all the Angels and Saints,
and you, my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord our God.
May Almighty God have mercy on us, ✠ forgive us our sins,
and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to people of good will.
We praise you, we bless you, we adore you,
we glorify you, we give you thanks for your great glory,
Lord God, heavenly King, O God, almighty Father.
Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son,
Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father,
you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us;
you take away the sins of the world, receive our prayer;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father,
have mercy on us.
For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father. Amen.
COLLECT O God, who teach us that you abide in hearts
that are just and true, grant that we may be so fashioned by your grace
as to become a dwelling pleasing to you.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.
GOSPEL ACCLAMATION Alleluia, alleluia!
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for revealing the mysteries of the Kingdom
to mere children. Alleluia!
A reading from the HOLY GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE. (6:17. 20-26)
Glory to you, O Lord.
Jesus came down with the Twelve and stopped at a piece of level ground where there was a large gathering of his disciples with a great crowd of people from all parts of Judaea and from Jerusalem and from the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon.
Then fixing his eyes on his disciples he said:
“How happy are you who are poor: yours is the kingdom of God. Happy you who are hungry now: you shall be satisfied.
Happy you who weep now: you shall laugh.
“Happy are you when people hate you, drive you out, abuse you, denounce your name as criminal, on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice when that day comes and dance for joy,
for then your reward will be great in heaven.
This was the way their ancestors treated the prophets.
“But alas for you who are rich: you are having your consolation now. Alas for you who have your fill now:
you shall go hungry.
Alas for you who laugh now: you shall mourn and weep.
“Alas for you when the world speaks well of you!
This was the way their ancestors treated the false prophets.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
It was a quiet, ordinary day for three ordinary shepherd children
In quiet, ordinary Fatima, Portugal.
Out of nowhere “A Lady, all in white, more brilliant than the sun… indescribably beautiful,” stood above them,
and appeared again to them on the 13th day of each month
until October 13th 1917.
There were many, many sceptics amongst the local populace
and indeed amongst the hierarchy of the Church,
who quite correctly needed more evidence
to verify these visitations.
After all, these were just three young, uneducated children
who knew lots about sheep, but little else.
However, their monthly accounts began to attract interest.
When it became known that Our Lady would visit the children
for the last time on October 13 that year, it was said -
“with a sign that would convince the world”,
nearly 70,000 people journeyed there,
many still prepared to dismiss it as rubbish, but on that day
all who were there witnessed some amazing,
The sun appeared to perform frightening displays,
rolling as if totally out of control; the like of which had never been seen before, which was seen by thousands in that place on that day.
Much later on, In August 1941, Sister Lúcia,
who had been one of the children, & since entered the religious life,
described the apparition of 13 July 1917:
She said that the Virgin told them:
1. “The [First World] war is going to end;
but if people do not cease offending God,
a worse one will break out during the pontificate of a future Pope,
in hindsight, Pius XI.”
2. “Pray for Russia, and there will be peace.
If not, she will spread her errors throughout the world,
causing wars and persecutions.
The good will be martyred….various nations will be annihilated.”
Thirdly - the vision of “a Bishop clothed in white,” who “falls to the ground, apparently dead, under a hail of gunfire…….
well, on May 13th, 1981
a gunman attempted to kill Pope John Paul II.
The Pope credited Our Lady of Fatima for his protection on that day,
her day, the day in 1981 which happened to be her feast day!
Our Lady’s message at Fatima in 1917…. A prophecy of the outbreak of World War II; and the prediction of the immense damage that Russia would do to humanity.
For those of you who know your Russian history, these apparitions were seen by these ordinary shepherd children in the very year of the Russian Revolution in 1917.
As a twelve-year old, I found Russia fascinating. I subscribed to a monthly magazine called “Sputnik”, which showcased Russian culture, Russian achievement, and the beauty of the Russian countryside.
At the same age I was drawn to the Roman Catholic faith, one of a few times when I nearly became a Roman.
I distinctly remember cards on tract stands in Churches entitled “Prayers for Russia” asking the prayers of Mary.
…. and it began to look as though her prayers were being answered
In May 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev delivered a speech in Leningrad,
in which he publicly criticized
the inefficient economic system of the Soviet Union,
making him the first Communist leader to do so.
In February 1986 in a speech to the Communist Party Congress,
he spoke about the need for political and economic restructuring,
or perestroika, and called for a new era of transparency
and openness, or glasnost.
As reforms under glasnost revealed the horrors of the Soviet past,
and its present-day inefficiencies, Gorbachev pushed through measures to hasten the first democratic elections ever in the USSR.
Almost 75 years after the Russian Revolution,
the Soviet Union ceased to exist, and the Cold War was over.
When the Berlin Wall fell, the world cheered,
As it did with the Presidency of Lech Walesa in Poland.
To the faithful it seemed that prayers through Our Lady
had accomplished what had seemed like the impossible.
So many remain grateful for the teamwork of Mikhail Gorbachev,
President Ronald Reagan and Pope St. John Paul II,
in promoting greater freedom throughout the former Soviet Union
and the Soviet bloc of satellite countries.
But now there is a Russian military build-up on the Ukrainian border.
It’s as if the old Soviet system is back. The Cold War feels nearer;
The world has become once again a frightening place.
Have we become apathetic? Yes…..
Have we not prayed enough? – probably true….
Is our diminishing practice of faith to blame? – it hasn’t helped.
We feel helpless; we need to do whatever we can
to redress the balance, the shift.
In these frightening times,
small gestures of kindness and care overcome fear.
St Teresa of Kolkata encouraged the daily care of the disadvantaged,
and the daily recitation of the following prayer,
the Universal Prayer for Peace….
Lead me from death to life, from falsehood to truth; lead me from despair to hope, from fear to trust; lead me from hate to love, from war to peace. Let peace fill our heart, our world, our universe.
Make it your prayer too (it will be on the Blog for today);
It puts God and ourselves in the driving seat,
rather than ineffectual world leaders,
who seem to have no concept of peace.
The apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima
talk about the recitation of The Rosary.
When was the last time you used yours for prayer?
You and I are not powerless.
We can build up, with the Church across the world, a bank of prayer,
to overcome the darkness with light, God’s light
as symbolised by that last Fatima apparition involving the sun.
….and in the light of our Gospel reading today,
we can learn to live as people of the Beatitudes;
in our care of the disadvantaged – the poor: the hungry,
those who weep, the persecuted….
……. lead me from hate to love, from war to peace. Let peace fill our heart, our world, our universe.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for The Ukraine,
pray for Russia, pray for us. Amen.
THE PROFESSION OF FAITH
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
He ascended into heaven,
He is seated at the right hand of the Father,
And he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
FOR OUR PRAYERS
For all who are persecuted or suffering for their faith: that they may have the strength to bear the burdens of the day and be convincing witnesses of the new life given by God
For an end to violence and the exploitation of the poor: that God will raise up those who are exploited in slave-like working conditions or caught in human trafficking and heal their wounds, and lead them to a new life.
For all who are grieving: that those who have lost loved ones, their health, employment, or freedom may know the presence of God who wipes away all tears and who brings light into every darkness.
For national leaders: that God will give them wisdom in addressing the issues that challenge society, free them from self-reliance, and inspire them to work for the common good.
For refugees: that God will lead them to places of safety and help them to build new lives in communities that will welcome their gifts and talents.
For the protection and renewal of the earth: that God will inspire and guide us as we strive to be good stewards of the air, land, and water which God has given to us.
For all who are suffering: that God will guide the homeless to shelter, the hungry to food, and the abused to places of safety.
For all who are sick: that God will restore the sick to health, help all to get good sleep, and strengthen all who are for the sick.
We ask Mary, Our Lady of Fatima, to pray with us, as we with her
bring our care and concern to her Son for the situation in The Ukraine
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee,
blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now,
and at the hour of our death.
Almighty God, from whom all thoughts of truth and peace proceed,
kindle in the hearts of all the true love of peace.
Guide with Your pure and peaceable wisdom
those who make decisions for the nations of the earth;
that in tranquillity Your kingdom may go forward,
till the earth be filled with the knowledge of Your love
and your peace which passes all understanding. Amen.
At the Saviour’s command
and formed by divine teaching, we dare to say:
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come, thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil,
graciously grant peace in our days,
that, by the help of your mercy,
we may be always free from sin and safe from all distress,
as we await the blessed hope
and the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
For the kingdom,
the power and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
SPIRITUAL COMMUNION – A prayer from Fr. Ron Rolheiser
Still my heart, so that I may know that you are God,
that I may know that you create and sustain my every breath,
that you breathe the whole universe into existence every second,
that everyone, myself no less than everyone else, is your beloved,
that you want our lives to flourish,
that you desire our happiness,
that nothing falls outside your love and care,
and that everything and everybody is safe in your gentle, caring hands,
in this world and the next.
Time to sit quietly to receive the Lord’s Presence spiritually.
“My Jesus, I believe that You are present
in the Most Holy Sacrament of the altar.
I love You above all things,
and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart …
I embrace You as if You were already there
and unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You,”
God grant to the living, grace;
to the departed, rest;
to the Church, the Queen, the Commonwealth, and all people,
peace and concord; and to us and all his servants, life everlasting;
and may the blessing of almighty God,
the Father, the Son, ✠ and the Holy Spirit,
come down upon us, and remain with us for ever. Amen.
The angel of the Lord brought tidings unto Mary. And she conceived by the Holy Ghost.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now,
and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it unto me according to thy word.
Hail Mary. Holy Mary.
And the Word was made flesh. And dwelt amongst us.
Hail Mary. Holy Mary.
Pray for us, O holy Mother of God. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray.
We beseech thee, O Lord, pour thy grace into our hearts,
that as we have known the Incarnation of thy Son Jesus Christ
by the message of an angel, so by his Cross and Passion
we may be brought unto the glory of his Resurrection;
through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.