Archive for September, 2009

Charity In Truth – 2

September 27, 2009

[Note: this prayer, like last week’s prayer, reflects and quotes from the Encyclical Letter Caritas In Veritate given by Pope Benedict XVI on June 29, 2009.  Quotes from the letter are identified by paragraph number.]

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 1 Cor. 13:6

Lord, your love is the truth you ask us to accept and share with others.  (John 15:12).  Help us to follow your command as we work to reform our economy and allocate our resources.  As the Encyclical Letter states: “The economy needs ethics in order to function correctly —not any ethics whatsoever, but an ethics which is peopled-centred.”  (Encycl. Ltr, par 45).  Do not let us be misled by blind faith in “markets”.  Instead, give us the political will to set the boundaries needed to ensure that our markets function in ways to that do not unjustly enrich the few at the cost of impoverishing many.  The Encyclical Letter also warns that:

The risk of our time is that the de facto interdependence of people and nations is not matched by ethical interaction of consciences and minds that would give rise to truly human development.  Only in charity, illumined by the light of reason and faith, is it possible to pursue development goals that possess a more humane and humanizing value.  (Encycl. Ltr, par. 9).

Do not let us be misled again by undue reliance on the science of economics and mathematical calculations that fail to account for human fears and costs.  Help us instead to identify and analyze what would best promote the common good, and to accept responsibility for improving the lives of those who have suffered greatly as a result of our past failures, both economic and political.  Help us to recognize our interdependence and accept that each of our fates – whether rich or poor or in between — are intertwined.  Let us recognize that our wealth as individuals and as a nation depends on our genuinely caring for and helping each other, especially those who now struggle day to day simply to survive. Guide us O Lord, and move us forward.


Charity In Truth -1

September 20, 2009

[Note: this prayer reflects and quotes from the Encyclical Letter Caritas In Veritate given in Rome by Pope Benedict XVI on June 29, 2009.  This letter is addressed not only to the Catholic Church, but also to “all people of good will” and expands on the following statement, made in the opening paragraph: “Charity in truth, to which Jesus Christ bore witness by his earthly life and especially by his death and resurrection, is the principal driving force behind the authentic development of every person and of all humanity.”  Quotes from the letter are identified by paragraph number.]

Jesus replied:  “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it:  “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Mt. 22:37-39

Lord, our economy is said to be growing stronger, although many remain without work and jobs continue to be lost.  Regulatory reforms that would help stabilize and strengthen our monetary systems have stalled.  The economic and social inequalities which increased in past decades continue, and the political will to provide remedies or relief has not been found.  The Encyclical Letter warns us that:

The dignity of the individual and the demands of justice require, particularly today, that economic choices do not cause disparities in wealth to increase in an excessive and morally unacceptable manner, and that we continue to prioritize the goal of access to steady employment for everyone. . . . Through the systemic increase of social inequality, . . . not only does social cohesion suffer, thereby placing democracy at risk, but so too does the economy, through the progressive erosion of “social capital”: the network of relationships of trust, dependability, and respect for rules, all of which are indispensable for any form of civil coexistence.  (Encyl. Ltr, par. 32)

Let us heed this warning O Lord.  Do not let us ignore or accept the erosion of trust, the decline in civility, and the lack of accountability, that permeate our civic life.  Help us find the path forward and build better foundations for our future life together.  As we seek to reform our financial system, remind us, O Lord, as the Encyclical Letter does, “that the primary capital to be safeguarded and valued is man, the human person in his or her integrity. . .” (Encyl. Ltr, par. 25).

Help us to care for one another, to reach out, to share, and to trust that our lives will be better for it.  Help us to preserve and develop all of our people, that each their lives, and our life together,  may better reflect your love and your grace.  Help us, O Lord.


Memory Guides Us

September 13, 2009

The memory of the righteous will be a blessing, but the names of the wicked will rot. Pr. 10:7

Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember? Mk 8:18

Lord, we thank you for our museums, monuments, and memorials.  We thank you for museums that save knowledge and educate new generations so that we do not repeat our mistakes, and for museums that preserve the art of past generations so that we may be inspired and find new ways of understanding our world.  We thank you for monuments that record our history and help us measure progress.  We thank you for memorials that remind us of sacrifices made, of lives well lived, and of the greater purposes of life.  The Liberty Memorial in Kansas City states at its base: “The memorial also symbolizes the obligation that rests upon present and future generations to preserve that for which those men and women offered their all, and from many of whom the supreme sacrifice was accepted.  May their memory live on, and may every American who looks upon this noble edifice be inspired by their devotion.”  As we see our history before us O Lord, help us to both celebrate and grieve those who have given lives in defense of our country, those who lost their lives in terrorist attacks both domestic and foreign, and those who have died while working to preserve the safety and security of others.  May their lives inspire us to work harder to meet our obligations to past and future generations, to serve others, and to trust in you O Lord.


Teach The Children Well

September 6, 2009

For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life, Pr. 6:23

It was President Kennedy who said, “Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education.”  As our children begin a new school year we pray for their learning, and for their future.   Help them to develop a knowledge and love of history, so they might avoid the mistakes of the past; a knowledge and respect for science, so they might be informed and make wise choices when faced with the complex issues of their day; a knowledge and understanding of numbers, so that they might not be misled by isolated statistics and projections; a knowledge, curiosity, and tolerance of other cultures, so that they might understand and value the breadth of creation; and a love of reading so that they might be life-long learners.  Let them be exposed to all of the arts, so that they may experience the joy of creativity.  May they develop the capacity to distinguish fiction from fact, and also the ability to integrate information, ideas, and values in ways that help them find direction, purpose, and meaning in their lives. Through their teachers let them learn care, compassion, and love for others; discipline and self-control; and the satisfaction of producing results through hard work.  Let our children find in their schools both mentors and counselors who understand their potential and who connect them with new ideas, people, and opportunities.  And let their schools find support in their  surrounding communities for adequate funding, fair standards, and the provision of real opportunities for all.  We say the children are our future.  Help us to invest in all of our children as if we believed it were so.   And help us make progress, O Lord.  Amen