Saturday, 29 September 2012

A Prayer for Syria

Jesus wept.
Precious God, what makes you weep?
What are the things in this world that break your heart?
Glorious God we pray for the nation of Syria.
We ask for your mercy.
We pray for children who have lost parents and parents, children.
The voiceless, who sleep to the rhythm of their tears.
For all those who are chained by fear,
O God please bring peace.
Lord, we pray that you may raise up peacemakers
and those with generous loving hearts.
We ask that you may give discernment and courage to politicians
both national and international and others with influence,
that a road of peace may be found.
May justice flow and bring healing to this land.
For the honour of your name, Amen
(from Franciscans International, 
witnessing to the Franciscan message at the United Nations.)

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Jubilee of Grace

This morning, the feast of Our Lady's Nativity, we had a joyful celebration as two of the friars here celebrated their Diamond Jubilee of Profession as Franciscans. Sixty years!

      Writing of the Profession we make to God, the General Constitutions of our Order (article 5) emphasise the totally of the self-giving and its deep connection with the fundamental grace of Baptism. “In a more complete fulfilment of their baptismal consecration and in answer to the divine call, the friars give themselves totally to God, their supreme love. Through profession of obedience, poverty and chastity, which they are to live in the spirit of St Francis, they contract a covenant with God and life becomes, as it were, for their whole existence, a sacrifice offered to God in charity.’

Reading that understanding of our religious profession, we friars surely realise yet again that there is no way that we can even begin to desire, let alone carry out, what we have promised to the Lord without the action and strength of God in our lives. 

The God who calls is the One who alone can give the grace to respond. 
The God who is faithful is the One who alone can restore what is broken by our sin and frailty.
The God who journeys with us is the One who alone can guide, support and protect us till the end. 

Our Franciscan path, as all the Christian journey, is sustained absolutely by the sheer goodness and compassion of the Lord. The grace of the Spirit is at the origin of our vocation and is its daily strength. 

Anyone celebrating their jubilee knows that it is above all a jubilee of grace.

So this morning in the Eucharist, as we thanked God for our brothers who 60 years ago consecrated their lives to the Lord as friars minor,  we above all celebrated the gracious goodness at work in their lives. And we entrusted them and ourselves once again to tender prayers of Our Lady and the loving fidelity of our God.