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.
Universal Intention - Respect for Women
That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
At the end of the Second Vatican Council, the bishops published a message for women, as well as for other groups. The bishops recognized that women have an essential and unique role in nurturing human life and civilization.
“You women have always had as your lot the protection of the home, the love of beginnings, and an understanding of cradles. You are present in the mystery of a life beginning. You offer consolation in the departure of death. Our technology runs the risk of becoming inhuman. Reconcile men with life and above all, we beseech you, watch carefully over the future of our race. Hold back the hand of man who, in a moment of folly, might attempt to destroy human civilization.”
Pope Francis also spoke of the valuable and beautiful contributions women make to society. He asks us to pray with him this month that all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women so that their unique role can be fulfilled.
In Evangelii Gaudium Pope Francis wrote: “The Church acknowledges the indispensable contribution which women make to society through the sensitivity, intuition, and other distinctive skill sets which they, more than men, tend to possess.” As a result, he said, “In the cultural crisis of our time, woman finds herself on the front line in the battle for safeguarding what is human.”
Let us pray with the Pope and with all the Apostles of Prayer throughout the world that people everywhere may respect the rights and dignity of women. Let us pray that women may be strong in the battles against the cultures of death.
What are some of the “distinctive skill sets” that women possess and which make an “indispensable contribution” to society?
Luke 23: 27-31 Many women mourned and lamented him. Jesus, turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me….”
Evangelization Intention - Vocations
That many young people may accept the Lord’s invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.
“Behind and before every vocation to the priesthood or to the consecrated life there is always the strong and intense prayer of someone: a grandmother, a grandfather, a mother, a father, a community.”
Pope Francis said this last year on Good Shepherd Sunday and continued: “Vocations are born in prayer and from prayer; and only through prayer can they persevere and bear fruit.” He reminded his hearers that Jesus himself told us to ask God the Father to “send out laborers for his harvest” (Matthew 9: 37-38). Like Jesus, the Pope is asking us to pray for vocations to religious life.
God is still calling many to serve as priests and consecrated persons, but often the call is drowned out by other voices seeking to lure people away from giving their lives to God’s service. The devil would also like to discourage us from praying for vocations. He is masterminding a crisis of vocations, especially in the developed nations, including the United States and the countries of Europe, which historically have provided innumerable “laborers for his harvest.”
But prayer amplifies God’s voice. We must understand that our prayers are essential. Then we will pray with the faith that allowed Jesus to work miracles. Remember: there were times when Jesus “did not work many mighty deeds because of their lack of faith” (Matthew 13: 58). The Lord includes us in his work. He calls us now to pray that many will hear his call.
Speaking to seminarians and those discerning a vocation, Pope Francis said, “Evangelization is done on one’s knees.” Let us do our part this month, get on our knees, and join Pope Francis in praying for many young people to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.
Where have I seen God use my prayers to bring about changes?
Luke 10: 1-9 “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few.”
Prayer of the Month
Mary, you are the woman of the “yes”. You said “yes” throughout your life! You learned to recognize Jesus’ voice from the time when you carried him in your womb. Mary, our Mother, help us to know Jesus’ voice better and better and to follow it, so as to walk on the path of life! Amen.
--Adapted from Pope Francis’ Regina Caeli Message, April 21, 2013
Links for March, 2014 Universal Intention
Links for March, 2014 Evangelization 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, 2014: Apostleship of Prayer