Tag: prayer

Is Jesus Like Sleeping Beauty In The Tabernacle? What Exactly Is He Doing There? 

Is Jesus Like Sleeping Beauty In The Tabernacle? What Exactly Is He Doing There? 

There’s actually a figure from the Old Testament who gives us a clue …

The Catholic philosopher Peter Kreeft, in one of his numerous books, asks this question: “What is Jesus doing in heaven right now?” The answer is classic Kreeft, at once pithy and profound: “Praying for you.” The only real way to improve upon Kreeft’s answer is simply to draw a further inference: If Christ is praying for us right now in heaven, then he is also praying for us right now in the tabernacles of the Catholic churches on earth.

Sometimes, we Catholics are tempted to think of the Eucharist as something holy yet inert, kind of like Sleeping Beauty. But that is incorrect; we should strive to change our habits of thought in this regard. To enter into the presence of the Eucharist is, instead, to enter into the presence of a Person who knows us and is praying for us at that very moment. Christ’s prophetic words about the Temple in Jerusalem find their fulfillment in your local parish church: “My house shall be a house of prayer” (Luke 19:46).  


Christ never ceases nor tires of praying for each of us before God the Father, whether on earth or in heaven. The Catechism of the Catholic Church makes this point in #662, “Christ permanently exercises his priesthood, for he ‘always lives to make intercession’ for ‘those who draw near to God through him.’” Again, let that thought sink in: Christ doesn’t stop praying for us. Ever.


The need for someone like this, someone who loves us and literally never stops asking God for good things for us, is revealed even in the Old Testament. In Exodus 33711, the intimate prayer of Moses with God is described. A designated place for prayer, a “tent of meeting,” was set up outside of the Israelite camp. As Moses would enter this tent, a “column of cloud” would descend upon it, signaling the presence of the Lord, to whom Moses would then speak “face to face, as one man speaks to another.” With their intercessor standing before God, the Israelites would then begin to pray “at the entrance of their own tents.”


Yet the Sacred Scriptures include one additional detail, one that foreshadows the unceasing prayer of Christ: Although the prayer of Moses would eventually end, and he would return to camp, his young assistant Joshua “would not move out of the tent.” In the abiding presence of Joshua there is a suggestion that intercession to God on our behalf should not actually come to an end. While we exist, it is fitting that our existence should be lifted to God in prayer. It is fitting that anytime we pray—whether “at the entrance to our tent,” or anywhere else—our intercessor should be standing before God.


But we can dig deeper still. Why is it fitting to have an intercessor before God as we pray? Or, putting the question back in terms of the story from Exodus, why did the Israelites rise and pray at the entrance of their own tents as Moses prayed? Why did that somehow seem like the right time for personal prayer? Surely it was because of that “column of cloud” that indicated the special presence of God.


While the people might have known in some abstract way that God was always present to them, the cloud was a tangible reminder, a summons to prayer. In this sense, the prayer of Moses enabled the people’s prayer. His prayer called down the presence of God in their midst, prompting them to pray.


Yet what is only prefigured in Moses and Joshua is fulfilled in Christ. Christ’s unceasing prayer before God the Father is truly what enables our own prayer. In praying, Christ gives us the gift of prayer.


How does Christ do this? How does he give us the gift of prayer? Again, the presence of God is the key. We can say that Moses “made God present” to the people in a visible but sporadic way through the column of cloud that descended upon the tent of meeting. But Christ makes God present for us in a lasting and personal way by unceasingly asking the Father to send the Holy Spirit into our hearts. Christ is the mediator “who assures us of the permanent outpouring of the Holy Spirit” (CCC, #667).


The Holy Spirit is the fire Christ wishes to cast upon the earth (Luke 12:49), the one who teaches us to pray and unites us to Christ. In receiving the Holy Spirit, we receive the gift of prayer at its very source, God himself.

The Prayer of Thanksgiving for Mary, Our Mother

The Prayer of Thanksgiving for Mary, Our Mother

The Prayer of Thanksgiving for Mary, Our Mother

O Jesus, Divine Master, I thank and bless Your most merciful Heart for having given us Mary most holy as our Mother, Teacher and Queen. From the cross You placed us all in her hands. You gave her a great heart, much wisdom and immense power. May all mankind know her, pray to her! May all permit themselves to be led by her to You, the Savior of mankind! I placed myself in her hands, as You placed Yourself. With this Mother I want to live now, in the hour of my death, and for all eternity.
Amen.

Our Father

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. Amen.

 

Hail Mary

Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed are 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 Amen.

Glory Be

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

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Breaking! Alfie Evans Dies Amid Outpouring Of Prayers And Support 

Breaking! Alfie Evans Dies Amid Outpouring Of Prayers And Support 

Ailing toddler Alfie Evans, whose plight has tugged at the world’s heartstrings throughout the past week, died in the early hours of Saturday morning after being removed from life support.

In an April 28 Facebook post, Alfie’s father, Tom Evans, said: “My gladiator lay down his shield and gained his wings at 02:30…absolutely heartbroken. I love you my guy.”

Just shy of two years old, Alfie had been in what physicians described as a “semi-vegetative state” due to a mysterious degenerative neurological condition that doctors at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, England have not been able to properly diagnose. He had been hospitalized since December of 2016.

Although Italian officials earlier this week granted Alfie citizenship and a Vatican-linked hospital offered to take the toddler for further diagnosis and treatment, UK courts repeatedly refused to allow the transfer, ruling that it is not in the child’s best interest.

With permission of the court, but against the will of Alfie’s parents, Tom Evans and Kate James, the hospital earlier this week removed Alfie’s ventilator and withheld food and water from the child.

Although the toddler was only expected to live for a few minutes, he was able to breathe on his own for a number of hours, until doctors administered oxygen and hydration. They later administered nutrition as well, after the boy went almost 24 hours without food, according to Alfie’s father.

Life support was again removed from Alfie after a last-minute appeal by his parents was struck down Wednesday. After the ruling, the toddler’s parents released a statement thanking the doctors and hospital staff who cared for their son, saying they wanted to “build bridges” with Alder Hey.

Rallies in support of Alfie’s parents have been held throughout the week in London, Washington, D.C., New York and the Vatican, with pilgrims gathering to pray the rosary in St. Peter’s Square each night leading up to the toddler’s death.  

Pope Francis has also been outspoken about supporting the child’s parents.

The pope, who met with Alfie’s father last week, has offered public prayers for Alfie and his family several times, including at a general audience and in several Twitter posts.

Moved by the prayers and immense solidarity shown little Alfie Evans, I renew my appeal that the suffering of his parents may be heard and that their desire to seek new forms of treatment may be granted,” he said on Twitter Monday.

Eternal rest grant unto him oh Lord, and let your perpetual light shine upon him. Amen. 

‘Every Violence Against The Body Of Our Neighbor Is An Outrage To God The Creator’ – Pope Francis 

‘Every Violence Against The Body Of Our Neighbor Is An Outrage To God The Creator’ – Pope Francis 

Pope Francis on Sunday issued a moving prayer for all those whose bodies have been hurt or exploited, including those who have suffered abuse and those who are sick, pointing to the high-profile cases of Alfie Evans and Vincent Lambert.

“Every offense or wound or violence against the body of our neighbor is an outrage to God the creator,” the pope said April 15, pointing to the children, women and elderly who are “mistreated in the body.”

“In the flesh of these people we find the flesh of Christ,” he said.

“Mocked, slandered, humiliated, scourged, crucified, Jesus taught us love. A love which, in its resurrection, has shown itself as stronger than sin and death, and wants to redeem all those who experience in their own flesh the slavery of our times.”

Pope Francis spoke to pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square during his Sunday Regina Coeli address, which he prays during Easter instead of the Angelus.

His words come just days after he issued an apology for having made “serious errors” in the Chilean sexual abuse crisis, promising to meet with survivors and the nation’s bishops.

In his Regina Coeli address, the pope noted how when Jesus appears to the disciples in the day’s Gospel reading from Luke, at first they think he is a ghost. “But the Risen Jesus is not a ghost, he is a man with body and spirit,” and he shows the disciples this by eating a fish, the pope said.

Speaking directly about the body, Francis said the resurrection brings to light the Christian perspective about the body, which he said “is not an obstacle or a prison for the soul,” but is a gift created by God, and as such, “man is not complete if he is not a union of body and soul.”

The fact that Jesus rose from the dead in body and spirit means Christians should have a positive idea about the body, he said, noting that while the body can become an occasion for sin resulting from our “moral weakness,” it is also a “marvelous gift” that reflects our likeness to God.

Because of this, “we are called to have great respect and care for our bodies and that of others,” he said, adding that in a world where “too often arrogance against the weakest prevails and materialism suffocates the spirit,” today’s Gospel reading is an invitation to go deeper, and to be men and women full of wonder and joy for having met the Risen Lord.

After leading pilgrims in the Regina Coeli, Pope Francis made several pleas for prayer on behalf of those who are suffering either from illness, or from war.

He made an appeal for pilgrims to pray for “the people, such as Vincent Lambert in Francis, little Alfie Evans in England, and others in different countries who live, at times for a long period, in a serious state of illness, medically assisted for their basic needs.”

The reference was to two specific cases currently circulating in the international news cycle. Alfie Evans, 23 months, suffers from an unidentified degenerative neurological condition, has been under continuous hospitalization since December 2016.

In February, the court ruled that Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, where Evans is receiving care, could legally stop treatment for Alfie against his parent’s wishes, arguing that continuing treatment is not in his best interest, and that his life support should be switched off.

Despite the desire for Alfie’s parents, Kate James and Tom Evans, to take their son to Bambino Gesu hospital in Rome, several judges have ruled in the hospital’s favor.

The case has drawn international attention, and protesters gathered outside the Liverpool hospital Thursday and Friday to peacefully oppose the decision.

Evans and James recently launched a new legal challenge, asking the Court of Appeal judges to continue life support and treatment for Alfie. The court officials posted their hearing for Monday, saying that a court judge has decided that Alfie could continue treatment, pending the hearing.

In the case of Vincent Lambert, a severely disabled Frenchman without a terminal illness, courts have decided that the Sebastopol Hospital in Reims can remove Lambert’s food and water April 19.

Lambert suffered severe head injuries after a tragic car accident in 2008, and as a result has been a quadriplegic and severely disabled for 10 years. Yet despite his injuries, other doctors and his parents have insisted that Lambert is not sick, nor is he in a coma. They argue that he breathes unassisted and his internal organs function normally.

However, despite these arguments, the hospital ruled that continuing to feed and hydrate Lambert constituted “unreasonable obstinacy” toward him, and said that his feeding tubes ought to be taken out.

These and similar cases are “delicate situations, very painful and complex,” Francis said, and asked the faithful to pray with him that every person who is sick would “always be respected in their dignity and cared for in a way suited to their condition, with the consent of family members, and of other healthcare workers.”

He also offered prayers for three Ecuadorean men who were recently kidnapped and killed along the Ecuador-Colombia border, voicing his closeness to their families and praying for peace and unity in the area.

Francis then prayed for areas of the world torn by conflict “despite the instruments available to the international community,” and pointed specifically to Syria, where conflict has again flared up in recent days.

A fresh round of threats began when the United States and their allies in France and the UK on Friday ordered a series of bombings on chemical facilities in Syria in retaliation for a chemical attack allegedly carried out last week by Syrian President Bahsar al-Assad which killed more than 40 civilians.

World leaders immediately reacted supporting both sides, with Syria promising retaliation, and U.S. President Donald Trump threatening further attacks if Assad does not stop using chemical weapons on civilians.

In his Regina Coeli address, Francis said he is “deeply troubled” by ongoing global conflict, and invited all men and women of goodwill to continue to “incessantly pray for peace.” He issued a fresh appeal to political leaders, “so that justice and peace will prevail” over violence.

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