Considering The Lord’s Prayer
By Father Thomas Mattison, pastor of Christ our Savior Parish in Manchester Center and Arlington
To properly engage in a consideration of The Lord’s Prayer we need to consider, first of all, the Lord’s praying. And pray he did! He said grace before meals, he attended the Temple in Jerusalem, followed the liturgical year of his religion, was in the synagogue each weekend and he prayed personally and privately. Indeed, it was because they saw him praying that the disciples asked him to teach them to pray.
What was Jesus’ prayer like? … [It is important to] … notice the results of His prayer. After all, this is what the disciples would have noticed when He finished praying.
Two examples will suffice.
The first occurs early in His public career. After a whole day spent doing healings in Capernaum, Jesus goes to sleep and rises early to go out of town to pray. When His apostles come looking for Him because there are more sick people to be cured, He refuses. I must go into other places too and there proclaim the Kingdom of God. This is why I have come.
This prayer experience for Jesus that leads Him away from a path directed toward people and their happiness to a path directed by and to God alone, a discovery born of prayer.
The Agony in the Garden provides us with a second instance of Jesus’ prayer. And it offers us much the same insight. Jesus begins by asking that the “cup might Pass.” He ends by asking “not My will, but Thine be done.”
The result of this prayer is even more radical than in the first example. No longer seeking to please people, Jesus foregoes the desire to please Himself and, in prayer, becomes willing to face hostility and death because they are the Father’s will for Him.
As the Son of God, Jesus’ will is always and everywhere perfectly attuned to that of His heavenly Father. But, as Son of Man, He must be trained and educated in that will and in obedience to it.
This is what it says in the Letter to the Hebrews. Son though He was, Jesus learned obedience from His sufferings and, once perfected in obedience, He became the source of eternal life for those who trust Him.
Jesus’ personal prayer was an ongoing meeting of His own will and His Father’s. Over the course of time, that prayer brought Jesus from a reasonable human love of being loved to a willingness to be unloved by all, if only He was loved by God.
The perfect expression of that prayer experience is found in His last prayer: “Father, into Your hands I commend my spirit.” It is movement toward that final prayer of His, that Jesus counsels as the essence of discipleship: Whoever wishes to follow Me, must take up his cross each day.”
It was this prayer experience that Jesus sought to share with His disciples when they asked to pray like Him.
The Christ Our Savior Parish website is www.christoursaviorvt.com.
St. Teresa of Kolkata stamp
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican will anticipate the canonization of Blessed Teresa of Kolkata with a special postage stamp, which will be released Sept. 2, two days before Pope Francis officially declares her a saint. The Vatican Philatelic and Numismatic Office announced the stamp's release Aug. 5 and distributed initial images of it. The 95-cent stamp features a wrinkled but radiant Mother Teresa smiling in her blue-trimmed, white sari. Overlaid on the design by Patrizio Daniele is another image of her holding the hand of a small child. "Frail but equally determined in her vocation, Mother Teresa loved God and the church with great strength, simplicity and extraordinary humility, glorifying with her life the dignity of a most humble service," said the brochure announcing the stamp's release. "She was a humble messenger of the Gospel and of Christ's love, known as 'a small pencil in the hands of the Lord,' doing her work quietly and always with great love," it said. "She assisted the poor, the sick and the abandoned with tireless dedication, offering smiles and simple gestures, finding strength to persevere with her vocation through prayer and trust in God."
Displaced Iraqi Christians
AINKAWA, Iraq (CNS) — Abu and Um Sabah had to trade a tent anchored in a soft, grassy patch in a park for a roughly hewn, five-story unfinished cement building as they sat out their forced displacement by Islamic State militants for a second year. A colorful rug tapestry of the Last Supper dominated the bare concrete room they called home, with a small picture of the Virgin Mary on another wall to keep their spirits lifted. A son, his wife and three young children shared another room close by in the complex located in this Christian enclave on the edge of Irbil. As Iraqi Christians remember the second anniversary of their forced displacement from their ancestral homeland, some have expressed frustration and weariness that is taking a long time to liberate Mosul and the Ninevah Plains from the Islamic State. When he lived near Qaraqosh, Abu Sabah had a prosperous job as a photographer, with his own studio. Now he is tired, wearied by Iraq's scathing 122-degree summer temperatures and the big wait for his homeland to be rid of Islamist extremists. "Life here is hard for everyone," Um Sabah told Catholic News Service. "The electricity is unstable and the concrete surroundings are uncomfortable and depressing. Sharing bathrooms and kitchens with hundreds of other people is a real challenge, too.
Call for civility
SILVER SPRING, Md. (CNS) — More than 5,600 U.S. religious sisters have signed a letter asking for civil discourse in the presidential campaign. The letter was to be sent Aug. 8 to the candidates of the Democratic, Republican, Green and Libertarian parties as well as their vice presidential running mates and the chairs of their respective parties. "We simply ask that all who seek to lead refrain from language that disrespects, dehumanizes or demonizes another," the letter said. "We pray that all who seek to influence public opinion will be mindful of the common good and respectful of the dignity of each and every person." The letter was written by the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which represents about 80 percent of the 49,000 women religious in the United States. LCWR, based in the Washington suburb of Silver Spring, has about 1,350 congregations of women religious as members, representing 80 percent of the 57,000 women religious in the United States. As of Aug. 3, 5,671 sisters had signed the letter. Their ministries include education, health care, and other pastoral and social services. "We urge you to join us in pledging to engage in careful listening and honest dialogue that honors the dignity of those with whom we disagree and treats all with the respect that is their God-given right," the letter said. "Please join us in promising to seek the common good, to desire only good for all others, and to offer our own truth with equal measures of conviction and humility."
Advice to follow after mass tragedy
WASHINGTON D.C. (CNS) — When tragedy arrives in a city, town or parish, there are several things church members, staff, priests, and religious sisters and brothers can do to help and others they shouldn't do, said Msgr. Stephen Rossetti, who will be conducting a free Aug. 31 webinar about dealing with mass trauma and tragedy through Maryland's St. Luke Institute. "When a disaster hits, you don't want to have to say 'oh, my gosh, what do I do now?' That feeling of being unprepared, it feeds into that helplessness, that feeling of victimization," Msgr. Rossetti said. "That's the last thing we want because it makes it worse. You want to walk with the feeling that you have some tools behind you." His online webinar, called "Shepherding in Tragic Times: Caring for Self and Others in Trauma," is aimed at aimed at priests and religious, but available to anyone who wants to register at www.sliconnect.org . "The Church should not underestimate the importance of its ministry, of our faith and our church community at times like these in terms of what it does for people," Msgr. Rossetti told Catholic News Service.
ASSISI, Italy (CNS) — Celebrating how God's mercy has been experienced for 800 years in a tiny stone church in Assisi, Pope Francis said people need to experience God's forgiveness and start learning how to forgive others. "Too many people are caught up in resentment and harbor hatred because they are incapable of forgiving. They ruin their own lives and the lives of those around them rather than finding the joy of serenity and peace," the pope said Aug. 4 during an afternoon visit to the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels. Before speaking about the importance of confession and forgiveness, Pope Francis set a bouquet of red and white roses on the altar and prayed silently for 10 minutes in the Portiuncola, a stone chapel in the middle of the basilica. The abandoned ninth-century Benedictine chapel was entrusted to St. Francis of Assisi in the early 1200s. When St. Francis felt God calling him to rebuild the church, he first thought he meant the little chapel. St. Francis restored the chapel in 1207 and two years later he founded his religious order there. The chapel is so important to the Franciscan family that when it was time to build a larger church, the new basilica was built around the chapel, leaving it intact. But the reason Pope Francis visited Aug. 4 and the reason thousands travel there each August is the "Pardon of Assisi," a plenary indulgence offered to visitors who are sincerely sorry for their sins, go to confession, receive the Eucharist, recite the Creed and pray for the intentions of the pope as a sign of their unity with the Church.
Zika infection fears
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CNS) — With a growing number of U.S. travelers returning from abroad with the Zika virus and with several cases of Zika-related microcephaly and birth defects reported in the U.S., the disease has inflamed the abortion debate domestically. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican from Miami where the Zika virus has now started spreading in one neighborhood through mosquito transmission, said he does not believe the Zika virus should be a pretext for an infected pregnant woman to get an abortion. Rubio met in Miami Aug. 4 with Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Florida's Gov. Rick Scott. The senator also was making a renewed push to call the U.S. Congress back into session to approve funding for combating Zika domestically and to introduce legislation that would provide U.S. troops serving in high-risk areas with additional protections from Zika. He also reportedly told the news magazine Politico Aug. 8: "Obviously, microcephaly is a terrible prenatal condition that kids are born with. And when they are, it's a lifetime of difficulties," he said. "So I get it. I'm not pretending to you that that's an easy question you asked me. But I'm pro-life. And I'm strongly pro-life. I believe all human life should be protected by our law, irrespective of the circumstances or condition of that life."
40 Days for Life
From Sept. 28-Nov. 6 40 Days for Life will be observed.
This non-denominational, annual 40 days of prayer to end abortion brings together participants from faith communities throughout Vermont for peaceful vigil in front of the Planned Parenthood clinics in two locations. These locations are Talcott Road, Williston, and 6 Roberts Ave., Rutland.
Sign up for vigil hours online at 40daysforlife.com.
For more information, call Agnes Clift about Williston 40 Days at 802-310-9520 or Delia Warnecke about Rutland 40 Days at 802-287-0354.
Afternoon of Prayer for Healing and Hope
BURLINGTON— An Afternoon of Prayer for Healing and Hope will take place Sunday, Oct. 9, from 1-3 p.m. at the chapel of the Catholic Center at the University of Vermont.
There will be prayers for all who have been affected by abortion and talks about the healing, mercy and forgiveness God longs to offer.
There will be a short presentation on the aftermath of abortion and God’s peace and healing offered through the Catholic Church’s Project Rachel Ministry.
There will be opportunities for reflection and confession along with Eucharistic Adoration in the chapel.
For more information, write email@example.com or call 802- 658-6110 ext. 1131.
ENFIELD, N.H. — There will be a Spanish Mass at the LaSalette Shrine on Sunday, Sept. 4, at 2:30 p.m. Confessions will be heard in Spanish before Mass. Father John Patrick Sullivan, M.S., the new director of the shrine, will celebrate the Mass.
Pope designates Sept. 1 as World Day of Prayer for Care of Creation
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Like their Orthodox brothers and sisters, Pope Francis has said Catholics formally will mark Sept. 1 as the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.
The day of prayer will give individuals and communities an opportunity to implore God's help in protecting creation and an opportunity to ask God's forgiveness "for sins committed against the world in which we live,” he said.
Pope Francis announced his decision to add the annual prayer day to the Catholic calendar in a letter to Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and to Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
The text of the letter, dated Aug. 6, was released by the Vatican Aug. 10.
Pope Francis said he was instituting the prayer day for Catholics because he shares the concern of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople who initiated a similar prayer day for the Orthodox Church in 1989.
Metropolitan John of Pergamon, who represented the patriarch at the public presentation June 18 of Pope Francis' encyclical, "Laudato Si'," had suggested there that all Christians join in prayer Sept. 1. "This would mark a step toward further closeness among them," he had said.
Pope Francis said Christians want to make their special contribution to safeguarding creation, but to do that they must rediscover the spiritual foundations of their approach to earthly realities, beginning with an acknowledgment that "the life of the spirit is not dissociated from the body or from nature," but lived in communion with all worldly realities.
The ecological crisis, he said, is a summons "to a profound spiritual conversion" and to a way of life that clearly shows they are believers. Quoting his encyclical, he said, "living our vocation to be protectors of God's handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience."
The annual World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, Pope Francis said, will be a time for individuals and communities to "reaffirm their personal vocation to be stewards of creation, to thank God for the wonderful handiwork which he has entrusted to our care, and to implore his help for the protection of creation as well as his pardon for the sins committed against the world in which we live."
The pope asked Cardinal Koch to consult with and work with the Catholic Church's ecumenical partners and the World Council of Churches to make sure the prayer day becomes a sign of Christians' commitment to work together to safeguard creation "in order to be more credible and effective."
He entrusted to the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace the task of working with Catholic bishops' conferences and environmental organizations to publicize and coordinate the specifics of the celebration.
"I invoke upon this initiative the intercession of Mary, mother of God, and of St. Francis of Assisi, whose Canticle of the Creatures inspires so many men and women of goodwill to live in praise of the Creator and with respect for creation," he said.
Vermonters at World Youth Day
Video highlights of Vermont pilgrims in Krakow.
BURLINGTON— Vermonters who traveled to Poland for World Youth Day brought with them more than 100 prayer intentions from people in the Green Mountain State.
Some 25 pilgrims from Vermont traveled to the celebration in Krakow from July 19-Aug. 2.
While there they learned about the history of the country, sampled local cuisine, frequented catechetical sessions, performed volunteer service, attended performances by local and visiting talent and participated in prayer and liturgy services with at least 2 million other Catholics including Pope Francis.
Meeting pilgrims from nearly every continent, many of the Vermont pilgrims expressed appreciation for exposure to the universal Church in ways that they had never experienced it before.
In a July 25 blog post, pilgrimage coordinator Chris Dawson reflected that the diversity among the people and their worship practices served as “a reminder that Christ’s message is inclusive and for all people.”
He continued, “We are called to be one. We are not called to be the same, but called to be one people, united across all borders and cultures. We each have our gifts and attributes, but we move as one.”
The theme of solidarity permeated the entire event.
“We are here today because the Lord has called us together,” said Pope Francis at the Saturday evening prayer vigil. “Our response to a world at war has a name: Its name is fraternity, its name is brotherhood, its name is communion, its name is family. We celebrate the fact that coming from different cultures, we have come together to pray. Let our best word, our best argument, be our unity in prayer.”
He continued the theme on Sunday: “People may judge you to be dreamers, because you believe in a new humanity, one that rejects hatred between peoples, one that refuses to see borders as barriers and can cherish its own traditions without being self-centered or small-minded. Don’t be discouraged: With a smile and open arms, you proclaim hope and you are a blessing for our one human family, which here you represent so beautifully!”
He concluded his Sunday message by urging pilgrims to take this mentality of unity among difference back with them to their homes, allowing Jesus to dwell in their daily lives just as He had during their World Youth Day pilgrimage.
For more details on the Vermont WYD pilgrims, visit www.vtwyd.blogspot.com.
Article written by Stephanie Clary, mission outreach and communication coordinator for the Diocese of Burlington.
Jubilee for Families
JUBILEE FOR FAMILIES— Families from throughout the Diocese of Burlington gathered at St. Anne’s Shrine in Isle LaMotte July 17 for a Jubilee for Families. More than 300 people of all ages attended the outdoor Mass celebrated by Burlington Bishop Christopher Coyne. The Year of Mercy event included a procession, barbecue, lawn games and swimming in Lake Champlain. The Society of St. Edmund co-hosted the event.
For a recap of the day, visit here.
"Inspire: Called to Love"
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — The Diocese of Ogdensburg, N.Y., is hosting a conference entitled "Inspire: Called to Love" on Sunday, Sept. 25, at the Lake Placid Olympic Arena. More information and registration can be found at www.inspirecalledtolove.com. Speakers include Bishop Robert Barron, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles; Burlington Bishop Christopher Coyne; columnist George Weigel; and Jennifer Fulwiler, a writer from Austin, Texas, who converted to Catholicism.
For more information click here.
ISLE LAMOTTE— On Sept. 11 the 350th anniversary of first Mass celebrated in Vermont will be commemorated.
Burlington Bishop Christopher Coyne will preside at the 10:30 a.m. Mass at St. Anne’s Shrine. Jesuit Father Michael Knox will be the homilist. He has studied 17th- Century Jesuit history.