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.
It has been said that the first casualty in a war is the truth. That may be so, but the fact remains that wars are often caused by lack of truth.
Jesus declared “I am the truth” (John 14: 6) and told Pontius Pilate “For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth” (John 18: 37). Because he is the Son of God, Jesus is the truth about who God is, and, because he is fully human, he is the truth about the human person.
What is that truth? First, that God is Love, love that is willing to give all, even life itself, for the good of the beloved. Second, that the human person is precious to God, precious enough to die for.
When this truth is denied, the human person becomes subhuman, an object, or a threat. It becomes easy to destroy a mass of cells viewed as a threat. The human person may seem like a cancer on humanity and be treated as such, rather than as an individual for whom Jesus suffered and died.
We begin this month with the annual World Day of Peace. The theme Pope Francis has chosen for this day is “Slaves No More, But Brothers and Sisters.” That theme confronts one of the root causes of war—seeing others as objects to be enslaved, bought, and sold.
So we pray that all people of good will from all the world’s religious traditions may know and hold fast to the truth of the human person and work together for peace.
What are some practical ways in which I can remember that others, including my enemies, are precious to God?
James 4: 1-12 Where do the wars and conflicts among you come from?
Do you know any religious sisters, brothers, or priests? While there are fewer of them today than there were 50 years ago, they continue to play an important role in the life of the Church. According to St. John Paul, “the consecrated life is at the very heart” of the mission of the Church. Consecrated persons make visible to the world “the characteristic features of Jesus—the chaste, poor, and obedient one.” They show the world that every person is called to an intimate relationship with God that can best be described as “spousal.”
This year is the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council’s document “On the Renewal of Religious Life.” That document called for congregations to return to their sources and to adapt “to the changed conditions of our time.”
Himself a member of a religious order, Pope Francis has given us a Year of Consecrated Life, which runs from November 29, 2014 to February 2, 2016. He asks all Catholics to reflect on the gift of consecrated life, to support those who are called, and to pray for new vocations.
When he announced the Year of Consecrated Life, the Pope said: “The Church must be attractive. Wake up the world! Be witnesses of a different way of doing things, acting, living! It’s possible to live differently in this world.”
We pray that consecrated persons help us all to live differently.
Vatican II spoke of “a wonderful variety of religious communities.” What are those that I am familiar with and how have they enriched me and the Church?
Romans 12: 1-8 Do not conform yourself to this age but be transformed.
Father, we thank you for calling men and women to serve in your Son’s Kingdom as sisters, brothers, religious priests, consecrated virgins, and hermits, as well as members of Secular Institutes. Renew their knowledge and love of you, and send your Holy Spirit to help them respond generously and courageously to your will.
--from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
Links for January, 2015 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 2015: Apostleship of Prayer