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.
Our Pope has said that one reason he chose the name Francis is that St. Francis of Assisi was “the man of peace.” Pope Francis too has taken upon himself the mission of promoting peace. This month he invites us to join him in praying for peace in the most troubled areas of our world.
In September of last year Pope Francis spoke at a prayer vigil for peace in Syria. He said that because humanity has tried to put itself “in God’s place, all relationships are broken and everything is ruined.”
“We have perfected our weapons,” said the Pope, “[but] our conscience has fallen asleep.” And he asked that all people turn to the crucified Christ: “How I wish that all men and women of good will would look to the Cross if only for a moment! In the silence of the Cross, the uproar of weapons ceases and the language of reconciliation, forgiveness, dialogue, and peace is spoken.”
More recently, Pope Francis invited two presidents, representing the warring Israelis and Palestinians, to pray with him in the Vatican Gardens. Before praying he told them: “Peacemaking calls for courage, much more so than warfare. It calls for the courage to say yes to encounter and no to conflict; yes to dialogue and no to violence.”
But such courage is beyond our own power, for “the evil one” subverts the human efforts at peace. “We know and we believe,” the Pope continued, “that we need the help of God. We do not renounce our responsibilities, but we do call upon God.”
Our prayer of the month comes from the prayer Pope Francis offered on that occasion.
What seemingly impossible situations have I seen changed through faith and prayer?
Isaiah 11: 1-9 On God’s holy mountain there shall be no harm or ruin because the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord.
In his apostolic exhortation The Joy of the Gospel, Pope Francis wrote: “In virtue of their baptism, all the members of the People of God have become missionary disciples. Every Christian is a missionary to the extent that he or she has encountered the love of God in Christ Jesus.”
Why should all believers be missionaries? Pope Francis answers that question with his own: “What kind of love would not feel the need to speak of the beloved, to point him out, to make him known? If we do not feel an intense desire to share this love, we need to pray insistently that he will once more touch our hearts. We need to implore his grace daily, asking him to open our cold hearts and shake up our lukewarm and superficial existence.”
So we are praying with Pope Francis that the October 19 celebration of World Mission Day will set our hearts on fire. We are praying that we will bring the good news of the love of Jesus into every corner of our own world and beyond. We do that by the witness of our daily lives, which we offer to God in our daily offering prayer, and by our support for the Pontifical Mission Societies.
Pope Francis called these groups “the privileged instrument which draws attention to and generously takes care of the ‘mission to the nations.’” Every diocese has an office of the Propagation of the Faith which coordinates support for the work of evangelization beyond its own borders.
May our hearts be moved to be generous in our daily witness and our support for the Church’s evangelization efforts around the world.
Why does evangelization begin with prayer that deepens our relationship with God?
2 Corinthians 5: 14-15 The love of Christ urges us on.
Lord God of peace, hear our prayer! We have tried so many times and over so many years to resolve our conflicts by our own powers and by the force of our arms. But our efforts have been in vain. Now, Lord, come to our aid! Grant us peace, teach us peace; guide our steps in the way of peace. Instil in our hearts the courage to take concrete steps to achieve peace.
--Pope Francis on June 8, 2014
Links for October, 2014 Evangelization Intention
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