May 16. Easter 7. ASCENSION. Fr Brian added a special family focus to his homily on the feast of the Ascension. He explained, “The 40 days from Easter uses a symbolic number which means a certain length of time. This period of time was used by Jesus to continue teaching the apostles and preparing them for when he would return to the Father. He promised not to leave them orphans but to send a helper to carry out their commission to go out and be his witnesses and to evangelise. Families are the first evangelisers. Together with and through the Spirit they spread the Good News of God’s love to those within and then beyond the family. Parental love by both mothers and fathers in all areas of creation, or by those playing this role is their own unique way for doing this. How else will children understand that God is a loving parent?
“You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be my witnesses to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8. Pope Francis: When a family is welcoming and reaches out to others, especially the poor and the neglected, it is a symbol, witness and participant in the Church’s motherhood. Social love as a reflection of the Trinity is what truly unifies the spiritual life of the family and its mission to others. Family is a vital cell for transforming the world. AL324. Mary, Mother of Jesus, show us his way.
AND IN ADDITION :
WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY AND FOR CARE OF OUR COMMON HOME
WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY 2021. Theme, ”Abide in my love and you shall bear much fruit.” John 15:4. This week of prayer is an annual commemoration for which a different Christian community is invited to prepare a programme
LAUDATO SI WEEK, MAY 16-24 2021. “For we know that things can change.” LS13. This is the closing week of the 5th anniversary commemoration of the publication of the enclyclical of Pope Francis for the CARE OF OUR COMMON HOME.
NOTE: As these two important commemorations are occasions for prayer, extracts from the Christian Unity themes and prayers are provided here together with extracts from Laudato Si’ on “Ecological Education and Spirituality.”
WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY 2021. The ecumenical Community of Grandchamp were selected by the World Council of Churches to choose a theme and draft a text for 2021. It is a monastic community that brings together sisters from different churches and countries. The Community was established in the first half of the twentieth century in Switzerland, and from its inception had close ties with Brother Roger of the Community of Taizé and Abbé Paul Couturier, a seminal figure in the history of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. There are about fifty sisters in the community, committed to seeking the path of reconciliation between Christians, across the human family, and with respect to the whole of creation. The sisters of Grandchamp were called to live out the simple presence of prayer and friendship in small communities often in underprivileged areas, particularly in Algeria, Israel, Lebanon and working-class areas in various countries of Europe. Brother Roger of Taize wrote: “The constant search for unity harmonizes the human being: it provides thought with deeds and being with action. This equilibrium is acquired to the extent that we strive – in successive steps – to be consistent with what is best in ourselves and what is at our innermost core: Christ within us.“ See www.grandchamp.org for more information
The theme chosen by the local writing group was Abide in my love and you shall bear much fruit (cf. Jn 15:5-9). This allowed the sisters to share the experience and wisdom of their contemplative life abiding in the love of God, and to speak about the fruit of this prayer: closer communion with one’s brothers and sisters in Christ and greater solidarity with the whole of creation.
THE WEEK OF PRAYER is jointly sponsored annually by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches to prepare materials. To read more on the full texts and programme go to: https://www.oikoumene.org/sites/default/files/Document/ENG%202021%20Booklet.pdf To known more about the South African Church Unity Commision, and the United Ascension Day Service on 13 May go to http://churchunitycommission.org
LAUDATO SI’ Week, 16-24 MAY is the closing event of the 5th anniversary of the publication of Pope Francis’ encyclical. Various events are planned by the Church in Rome and around the world. Go to www.laudatosiweek.org
May 16. Sunday Easter 7. Day 1: Called by God: “You did not choose me but I chose you” (Jn 15:16a). Touched by his love, we set out. In this encounter we walk a path of transformation, the bright beginning of a relationship of love that is always started anew.
Laudato Si’ 202. Many things have to change, but it is we human beings, above all, who need to change. We lack an awareness of our common origin, our mutual belong and of a future to be shared with everyone. A great cultural, spiritual and educational challenge stands before us, and it will demand that we set out on the long path of renewal. Christian Unity Prayer Day 1. Jesus Christ, you seek us, you wish to offer us your friendship and lead us to a life that is ever more complete. Grant us the confidence to answer your call so that we may be transformed and become witnesses of your tenderness for the world.
May 17. Day 2: Maturing internally: “Abide in me as I abide in you” (Jn 15:4a) Being fully human, like us Jesus grew and matured in his hidden life. He lived a simple life, rooted in the practices of his Jewish faith in Nazareth.
Laudato Si’ 240. The world created according to the divine model of trinitarian communion is a web of relationships. The human person grows more, matures more and is sanctified more to the extent that he or she enters into relationships, going out from themselves to live in communion with God, with others and with all creatures. Christian Unity Prayer Day 2. Holy Spirit, May we receive in our hearts the presence of Christ, and cherish it as a secret of love. Nourish our prayer, enlighten our reading of Scripture, act through us, so that the fruits of your gifts can patiently grow in us.
May 18. Day 3: Forming one body: “Love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 15:12b) On the eve of his death, Jesus knelt to wash the feet of his disciples. He knew the difficulty of living together and the importance of forgiveness and mutual service.
Laudato Si’ 213. Ecological education can take place in a variety of settings: at school, in families, in the media, catechesis and elsewhere. I would stress the great importance of the family which is the place in which life – the gift of God – can be properly welcomed and protected against the many attacks to which it is exposed and can developed in accordance with what constitutes authentic human growth. In the family we first learn how to show love and respect for life, respect for the local ecosystem and care for all creatures. Integral education enables us to grow harmoniously in personal maturity. Christian Unity Prayer Day 3. God our Father, you reveal to us your love through Christ and through our brothers and sisters. Open our hearts so that we can welcome each other with our differences and live in forgiveness. Grant us to live united in one body, so that the gift that is each person comes to light. May all of us together be a reflection of the living Christ.
May 19. Day 4: Praying together: “I do not call you servants any longer … but I have called you friends” (Jn 15:15) If we pray with Christians of other traditions we may be surprised to feel united by a bond of friendship that comes from the One who is beyond all division. Forms may differ but the same Spirit brings us together.
Laudato Si’ 227. One expression of the attitude of serene attentiveness to others and to everything is when we stop and give thanks to God before and after meals. I ask all believers to return to this beautiful and meaningful customs. That moment of blessing, however brief, reminds us of our dependence on God for life; it strengthens our feeling of gratitude for the gifts of creation; it acknowledges those who by their labours provide us with these goods and it affirms our solidarity with those in greatest need. Christian Unity Prayer Day 4. Lord Jesus, your entire life was prayer, perfect harmony with the Father. Through your Spirit, teach us to pray according to your will of love. May the faithful of the whole world unite in intercession and praise, and may your kingdom of love come.
May 20. Day 5: Letting oneself be transformed by the Word: “You have already been pruned by the word…” (Jn 15:3) The Word of God is very close to us. It is a blessing and a promise of happiness. If we open our hearts God speaks to us and patiently transforms that which is dying in us.
Laudato Si’ 222. Christian spirituality proposes an alternative understanding of the quality of life and encourages a prophetic and contemplative lifestyle, one capable of deep enjoyment free of the obsession with consumption. We need to take up an ancient lesson found in different religious traditions and also in the Bible. It is the convictions that less is more. A constant flood of new consumer goods can baffle the hear and prevent us from cherishing each thing and each moment. Christian spirituality proposes a growth marked by moderation and the capacity to be happy with little. Christian Unity Prayer Day 5. Blessed are you, God our Father, for the gift of your word in Holy Scripture. Blessed are you for its transforming power. Help us choose life and guide us by your Spirit, so that we can experience the happiness which you want so much to share with us.
May 21. Day 6: Welcoming others: “Go and bear fruit, fruit that will last” (Jn 15:16b) When we let ourselves be transformed by Christ his love in us grows and bears fruit. Welcoming the other is a concrete way of sharing the love that is within us.
Laudato Si’ 231. Love, overflowing with small gestures of mutual care, is also civic and political and it makes itself felt in every action that seeks to build a better world. Love for society and commitment to the common good are outstanding expressions of a charity which affects not only relationships between individuals but also macro-relationships, social, economic and political ones. Social love is the key to authentic development and is part of our spirituality. Christian Unity Prayer. Day 6. Prayer Jesus Christ, we desire to welcome fully the brothers and sisters who are with us. You know how often we feel helpless in the face of their suffering, yet you are always there ahead of us and you have already received them in your compassion. Speak to them through our words, support them through our actions, and let your blessing rest on us all.
May 22. Day 7: Growing in unity: “I am the vine, you are the branches” (Jn 15:5a) Each tradition seeks to lead us to the heart of our faith; communion with God, through Christ, in the Spirit. The more we live this communion the more we are connected to other Christians and to all of humanity.
Laudato Si’ 228. Care for nature is part of a lifestyle which includes the capacity of living together and communion. Jesus reminded us that we have God as our common Father and this makes us brothers and sisters. Fraternal love can only gratuitous; it can never be a means of repaying others. That is why it is possible to love our enemies. Gratuitousness inspires us to love and accept the wind, the sun and the clouds even though we cannot control them. In this sense we can speak of a universal fraternity. Christian Unity Prayer. Day 7. Holy Spirit, vivifying fire and gentle breath, come and abide in us. Renew in us the passion for unity so that we may live in awareness of the bond that unites us in you. May all who have put on Christ at their Baptism unite and bear witness together to the hope that sustains them
May 23. PENTECOST. Day 8: Reconciling with all of creation: “So that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete” (Jn 15:11) We participate in the work of the Spirit so that creation in all its fullness may continue to praise God. When nature suffers, when human beings are crushed, the Spirit of the risen Christ – far from allowing us to lose heart – invites us to become part of his work of healing.
Laudato Si’ 221. God created the world, writing into it an order and dynamism that human beings have no right to ignore. We read in the Gospel that Jesus says of the birds of the air, that not one of them is forgotten before God. Hhow can we possibly mistreat them or cause them harm? I ask all Christian to recognize and to live fully this dimension of their conversion. In this way we will help to nurture that sublime fraternity with all creation which Saint Francis of Assisi so radiantly embodied. The Spirit of God has filled the universe with possibilities and therefore from the very heart of things, something new can always emerge. Nature is nothing other than a certain kind of art, namely God’s art. LS80
Christian Unity Prayer. Day 8. Thrice-holy God, we thank you for having created and loved us. We thank you for your presence in us and in creation. May we learn to look upon the world as you look upon it, with love. In the hope of this vision, may we be able to work for a world where justice and peace flourish, for the glory of your name.