REFLECTIONS ON THE POPE'S MONTHLY INTENTIONS
Editor's Note: Apostleship of Prayer receives monthly prayer intentions from the pope and urges Christians throughout the world to unite in prayer for those intentions. The reflections below seek to illuminate the Holy Father's concerns.
Click here for a printer-friendly PDF version of this month's reflections.
You will need Adobe Reader to view.
If you don't have Adobe Reader on your computer, you can download it here.
General Intention - Victimized Children
That children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and protection they need.
In the ancient world, children were seen as a blessing. People thought they attained immortality through their progeny. Paradoxically, children were also seen as sub-human and were treated as objects to be used or discarded if they did not meet their parents’ expectations.
Things haven’t changed much, have they? While many see children as blessings, others see them as threats to their lifestyle and discard them before they’re born. Others use them by living their own lives through them, seeking the success they didn’t have or the affection they crave. They are not seen as persons in their own right, made in the image and likeness of God. They are not treated with the respect and reverence that their humanity demands.
Since God became a baby, the world has new light on children. Pope Benedict said, “In every child we see something of the Child of Bethlehem” We know that even the Christ Child was seen as a threat and had to begin life as a refugee in a foreign land.
On Christmas a few years ago, Pope Benedict spoke of “children who are denied the love of their parents..., children who are brutally exploited as soldiers..., and children who are victims of the industry of pornography and every other appalling form of abuse.” What can change this evil? “Only through the conversion of hearts, only through a change in the depths of our hearts can the cause of all this evil be overcome.”
We pray for this conversion as we pray that victimized children may find the love and protection they need.
Why is it easier to see Christ in some children and not others? What helps me to see Christ in every child?
Mark 10:13-16 Let the children come to me.
Mission Intention - Prepare the Savior’s Coming
That Christians, enlightened by the Word incarnate, may prepare humanity for the Savior’s coming.
Many people, including non-Christians, are preparing for Christmas. We Christians are preparing not only for the celebration of Christmas but also for the second coming of Christ.
While Advent is a designated season for this preparation, we may also experience Advent every time we prepare to receive the Body and Blood of Christ in Holy Communion. When we ask in prayer that we may be more like Mary, we prepare ourselves to receive the Word of God and give him flesh in our lives.
In a talk at the 2008 Eucharistic Congress in Quebec, Cardinal Bergoglio, now Pope Fran- cis, said: “We might ask the Grace of receiving Communion as Mary received the Word and allow it to take on flesh anew in me.”
If we do allow the Word of God to take on flesh in us, then, little by little, we as individuals will be transformed. In fact, in us and through God’s grace humanity as a whole will be transformed, and we are hastening the day when Christ will return and establish his kingdom once and for all.
Pope Francis went on to say: “The Eucha- rist is the vital center of the universe, ca- pable of satisfying the hunger for life and happiness: ‘He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him’ (John 6:57). In this happy banquet we participate in eternal life and, thus, ‘our daily existence becomes a prolonged Mass,’ as St Alberto Hurtado used to say.” Fr. Hurtado, a Latin American Jesuit, died of cancer in 1952 at the age of 51, and was canonized in 2005.
May each Mass and daily offering help us to prepare humanity for the Savior’s coming.
How do I prepare myself to receive Holy Communion? How does that preparation help my daily life to become “a prolonged Mass”?
John 1:12-16 To those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God.
Prayer of the Month
What joy is greater than the joy brought by love? What joy is greater than the joy which you, O Jesus, bring at Christmas to people’s hearts, and especially to the hearts of children?
Raise your tiny hand, Divine Child, and bless these young friends of yours. Bless all the children of the earth.
--from Blessed John Paul II’s 1994 Letter to Children
Links for December, 2013 General Intention
Links for December, 2013 Mission Intention
To register as a member of the Apostleship of Prayer, to subscribe to leaflets, or to order additional leaflets for distribution to others, please contact us. Thank you for your generous support of our ministry.
APOSTLESHIP OF PRAYER
1501 S. Layton Blvd
Milwaukee, WI 53215-1924
Copyright, 2013: Apostleship of Prayer