Following the Footsteps of the Saints and the Blessed in Misericordia

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1 Following the Footsteps of the Saints and the Blessed in Misericordia Call to Prayer On Sunday, September 4 th, the canonization Mass of Mother Teresa will be celebrated by Pope Francis at St. Peter s in Rome. Along with the example of Mother Teresa, this fall, we are invited to celebrate these ordinary individuals who have made extraordinary gestures with their lives to Christ through their living of mercy in word and action. These champions of faith also remind us that through our baptism, we are all called to holiness by witnessing with our lives the merciful presence of God in the world. In this time of prayer, let us pay attention to the pressing invitation that Jesus addresses to each and every one of us to walk in the footsteps of the saints and the blessed in mercy to radically transform our lives. 1

2 Opening Prayer We gather at the invitation of the Lord, who gives his mercy and forgiveness without counting. Let us recognize that we have thirst for such love, while we are not always willing to allow ourselves to be transformed by him. (Pause for a Moment of Silence) Penitential Rite Lord Jesus, you made yourself close to the sick and the excluded, you ate with publicans and sinners; When we close our hearts to distress and injustice, have mercy. Lord have mercy. O Christ, you have revealed the face of your Father, who loves us with a love made of tenderness and compassion, indulgence and forgiveness; have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord, you are dead and risen to reconcile us to God. In the nights of our doubts, our fears and our sufferings, have mercy. Lord have mercy. May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life. Amen First Reading Book of Wisdom (9:13-18) Who can understand the intentions of the Lord? What human being indeed can know the intentions of God? And who can comprehend the will of the Lord? For the reasoning of mortals is inadequate, our attitudes of mind unstable; for a perishable body presses down the soul, and this tent of clay weighs down the mind with its many cares. It is hard enough for us to work out what is on earth, laborious to know what lies within our reach; who, then, can discover what is in the heavens? And who could ever have known your will, had you not given Wisdom and sent your holy Spirit from above? Thus have the paths of those on earth been straightened and people have been taught what pleases you, and have been saved, by Wisdom. The Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God! 2

3 Meditation and Mercy Activity A time of introduction, then silent reflection is encouraged to reflect on the mercy of God in our lives and our call to people of mercy. 'Post-it' notes are distributed to the participants for them to write occasions where they have recognized God s mercy and post them on a visual of footsteps (prepared in advance.) Soft music can be played during the meditation. This visual can be left on the wall for the whole month. Gospel Acclamation Alléluia. Alléluia. Let your face shine on your servant, teach me your will. Alléluia. Alléluia. Gospel Luke (14:25-33) One who does not renounce all that belongs to him cannot be my disciple A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke Glory to you, Lord! Great crowds accompanied him on his way and he turned and spoke to them. Anyone who comes to me without hating father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, yes and his own life too, cannot be my disciple. No one who does not carry his cross and come after me can be my disciple. And indeed, which of you here, intending to build a tower, would not first sit down and work out the cost to see if he had enough to complete it? Otherwise, if he laid the foundation and then found himself unable to finish the work, anyone who saw it would start making fun of him and saying, 3

4 "Here is someone who started to build and was unable to finish." Or again, what king marching to war against another king would not first sit down and consider whether with ten thousand men he could stand up to the other who was advancing against him with twenty thousand? If not, then while the other king was still a long way off, he would send envoys to sue for peace. So in the same way, none of you can be my disciple without giving up all that he owns. The Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ! Personal Reflection (silent reading) Become a disciple of Jesus, walking in the footsteps of the champions of the faith which are the saints and the blessed, is to walk along with Him to the end of the path, which leads to Jerusalem. This walk is not easy. The requirements are huge. They involve ruptures against the values that make up our usual life. Jesus calls outright to a detachment and a questioning of our priorities. Why? Because his path lead to a confrontation and half measures do not fit on this path. Face the adversity of the powerful, the indifference of many, the resistance encountered by the announcement of the Reign, to continue, there has to be strong, deep, options that clearly establish our directions of life. Becoming a Christian, or align our lives on Evangelical values, carries consequences. Because we choose to walk with the poorest, to deny the cycle of violence, to promote dialogue, to rise against mediocrity and the fatalisms, we can lose our reputation, our job, our family ties and even our own life. The Gospel comes to pick us up at the heart of our options and what is sacred for us. And it puts many realities which hold us dear. It does not make them unimportant but places them in a different, broader meaning horizon. It puts at the center of our lives the Paschal mystery and the face of the crucified and risen Lord, figure of the living God. Before getting on such confusing path, it is worth to stop, sit back and think things out. The renunciation to former priorities to become a disciple is not misrepresenting passion or a cult of poverty but a wisdom about life, lucid fidelity, without illusions or false fears, which knows the price of which is chosen. Discipleship requests a donation without reservation. If you put the arm, the whole body will go through! You better know it in advance, if you want to reach the end. 4

5 Questions for Meditation How does this Gospel call me to reorient my priorities? What would help me to solidify my desire to follow Jesus Christ? As I sit back and I think about my life as a disciple: the costs, the opportunities, the inevitable choices General Intercessions Our thoughts are sometimes weak and we do not always understand the will of God. Let us turn to him so that we are strengthened by his Spirit who dwells in us. In your wisdom, Lord, welcome our prayers. For the Church, so that it is a relevant light for all peoples on Earth, Let s pray for the elect who occupy different functions for the benefit of all; should they are constantly inhabited by divine wisdom. Let us pray for the people who work in education; should they inspire all young people the meaning of a life of Holiness. Let us pray for all the baptized called to follow Christ, eternal wisdom of the Father; should they find daily inspiration and determination to do so. Pray for our community; Should it be more a place of fraternal welcome, openness and warmth. God our father, source of wisdom, grant to your children what they want in the Holy Spirit. We ask you by your son, Jesus, our Lord. Amen. 5

6 Closing Prayer Lord, you know I'm looking in my life for the traces of your presence, sometimes in the dark, sometimes with confidence, in the sunny moments of my daily life. But if I'm looking for you, it's because you have already shown yourself in the presence of people I have met. So I pray for those with whom I walk to encounter you. Guide our eyes so that we can see the signs of the Kingdom. Adjust our listening so that we can discern your call to live the Gospel. Guide our actions so that we participate with you making the world a more just and humane place to live. Give me the ability through my presence to welcome people that you put on my road. That our relationships and conversations bring to light your Word in our lives and our communities. Amen. Saint John Baptist de La Salle Pray for us Live Jesus in our hearts Forever 6

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