Friday, May 6, 2016

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Fri. May 6, 2016


Friday of the Sixth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 295


Reading 1ACTS 18:9-18

One night while Paul was in Corinth, the Lord said to him in a vision,
“Do not be afraid.
Go on speaking, and do not be silent, for I am with you.
No one will attack and harm you,
for I have many people in this city.”
He settled there for a year and a half
and taught the word of God among them.

But when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia,
the Jews rose up together against Paul
and brought him to the tribunal, saying,
“This man is inducing people to worship God contrary to the law.”
When Paul was about to reply, Gallio spoke to the Jews,
“If it were a matter of some crime or malicious fraud,
I should with reason hear the complaint of you Jews;
but since it is a question of arguments over doctrine and titles
and your own law, see to it yourselves.
I do not wish to be a judge of such matters.”
And he drove them away from the tribunal.
They all seized Sosthenes, the synagogue official,
and beat him in full view of the tribunal.
But none of this was of concern to Gallio.

Paul remained for quite some time,
and after saying farewell to the brothers he sailed for Syria,
together with Priscilla and Aquila.
At Cenchreae he had shaved his head because he had taken a vow.

Responsorial PsalmPS 47:2-3, 4-5, 6-7

R. (8a) God is king of all the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
All you peoples, clap your hands,
shout to God with cries of gladness,
For the LORD, the Most High, the awesome,
is the great king over all the earth.
R. God is king of all the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
He brings people under us;
nations under our feet.
He chooses for us our inheritance,
the glory of Jacob, whom he loves.
R. God is king of all the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
God mounts his throne amid shouts of joy;
the LORD, amid trumpet blasts.
Sing praise to God, sing praise;
sing praise to our king, sing praise.
R. God is king of all the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.

AlleluiaSEE LK 24:46, 26

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Christ had to suffer and to rise from the dead,
and so enter into his glory.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 16:20-23

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn,
while the world rejoices;
you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.
When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived;
but when she has given birth to a child,
she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy
that a child has been born into the world.
So you also are now in anguish.
But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice,
and no one will take your joy away from you.
On that day you will not question me about anything.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.”

#PopeFrancis Wins “are not the future of our peoples, they are the present.' Text - Video

Pope Francis greets Lord Mayor of Aachen, Marcel Philipp, during the Charlemagne Prize awards ceremony in Vatican City. - ANSA
Pope Francis greets Lord Mayor of Aachen, Marcel Philipp, during the Charlemagne Prize awards ceremony in Vatican City. - ANSA
06/05/2016 15:26



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis this afternoon received the International Charlemagne Prize at an awards ceremony in the Vatican.
The prestigious award is conferred each year on an individual or institution for their service in favor of European unification, and is awarded annually by the German city of Aachen to someone who has contributed to the ideals upon which the Prize was founded.
Listen:  
Pope Francis stressed that he would receive the award with an intention to offer it to Europe, adding, "Ours is not so much a celebration as a moment to express our shared hope for a new and courageous step forward for this beloved continent.”
After hearing speeches from the Lord Mayor of Aachen, Martin Philipp, President Shulz of the European Parliament said, “Europe is going through turbulent times, and faces what may be a decisive test of its unity.” Other speakers at the event included the President of the Council of Europe and the President of the European Commission.
In his Address, Pope Francis pleaded for a revitalized Europe, saying, “I am convinced that resignation and weariness do not belong to the soul of Europe, and that even our problems can become powerful forces for unity.”
Referring to his 2014 address to the European Parliament, he reflected on his comparison between Europe and an aging, weary grandmother. He challenged the people of Europe, asking, “What has happened to you, the Europe of humanism, the champion of human rights, democracy and freedom?  What has happened to you, Europe, the home of poets, philosophers, artists, musicians, and men and women of letters?  What has happened to you, Europe, the mother of peoples and nations, the mother of great men and women who upheld, and even sacrificed their lives for, the dignity of their brothers and sisters?”
He spoke of a Europe that can give birth to a new humanism based on three capacities: the capacity to integrate, the capacity for dialogue, and the capacity to generate. He noted that the roots of Europeans were consolidated down the centuries by a constant need to integrate a number of varied cultures. He added that a culture of dialogue “should be an integral part of the education imparted in our schools”, helping to give young people the necessary tools to settle conflicts in a new way.
The Pope stressed that all countries – the smallest and the greatest – have an active role to play in the creation of an integrated and reconciled society. Of special importance is the role of young people, who “are not the future of our peoples, they are the present.” He asked those in attendance, “How can we tell them that they are protagonists, when the levels of employment and underemployment of millions of young Europeans are continually rising?  How can we avoid losing our young people, who end up going elsewhere in search of their dreams and a sense of belonging, because here, in their own countries, we don’t know how to offer them opportunities and values?”
To create dignified and well-paying jobs, especially for young people, Pope Francis emphasised the need to move away from a “liquid economy”, one directed at revenue and profiting from speculation, to a “social economy”, one that invests in people by creating jobs.
Pope Francis concluded by describing his own dream for Europe: a place still capable of being a mother who has life because she respects and offers hope for life; a place attentive to the infirm and elderly; a place where people “breathe the pure air of honesty.”
The full text of Pope Francis’ address is below
Address of His Holiness Pope Francis
Conferral of the Charlemagne Prize
6 May 2016
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
                I offer you a cordial welcome and I thank you for your presence.  I am particularly grateful to Messrs Marcel Philipp, Jürgen Linden, Martin Schulz, Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk for their kind words.  I would like to reiterate my intention to offer this prestigious award for Europe.  For ours is not so much a celebration as a moment to express our shared hope for a new and courageous step forward for this beloved continent.
                Creativity, genius and a capacity for rebirth and renewal are part of the soul of Europe.  In the last century, Europe bore witness to humanity that a new beginning was indeed possible.  After years of tragic conflicts, culminating in the most horrific war ever known, there emerged, by God’s grace, something completely new in human history.  The ashes of the ruins could not extinguish the ardent hope and the quest of solidarity that inspired the founders of the European project.  They laid the foundations for a bastion of peace, an edifice made up of states united not by force but by free commitment to the common good and a definitive end to confrontation.  Europe, so long divided, finally found its true self and began to build its house.
                This “family of peoples”,  which has commendably expanded in the meantime, seems of late to feel less at home within the walls of the common home.  At times, those walls themselves have been built in a way varying from the insightful plans left by the original builders.  Their new and exciting desire to create unity seems to be fading; we, the heirs of their dream, are tempted to yield to our own selfish interests and to consider putting up fences here and there.  Nonetheless, I am convinced that resignation and weariness do not belong to the soul of Europe, and that even “our problems can become powerful forces for unity”.
                In addressing the European Parliament, I used the image of Europe as a grandmother.  I noted that there is a growing impression that Europe is weary, aging, no longer fertile and vital, that the great ideals that inspired Europe seem to have lost their appeal.  There is an impression that Europe is declining, that it has lost its ability to be innovative and creative, and that it is more concerned with preserving and dominating spaces than with generating processes of inclusion and change.  There is an impression that Europe is tending to become increasingly “entrenched”, rather than open to initiating new social processes capable of engaging all individuals and groups in the search for new and productive solutions to current problems.  Europe, rather than protecting spaces, is called to be a mother who generates processes (cf. Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 223).
                What has happened to you, the Europe of humanism, the champion of human rights, democracy and freedom?  What has happened to you, Europe, the home of poets, philosophers, artists, musicians, and men and women of letters?  What has happened to you, Europe, the mother of peoples and nations, the mother of great men and women who upheld, and even sacrificed their lives for, the dignity of their brothers and sisters?
                The writer Elie Wiesel, a survivor of the Nazi death camps, has said that what we need today is a “memory transfusion”.  We need to “remember”, to take a step back from the present to listen to the voice of our forebears.  Remembering will help us not to repeat our past mistakes (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 108), but also to re-appropriate those experiences that enabled our peoples to surmount the crises of the past.  A memory transfusion can free us from today’s temptation to build hastily on the shifting sands of immediate results, which may produce “quick and easy short-term political gains, but do not enhance human fulfilment” (ibid., 224).
                To this end, we would do well to turn to the founding fathers of Europe.  They were prepared to pursue alternative and innovative paths in a world scarred by war.  Not only did they boldly conceive the idea of Europe, but they dared to change radically the models that had led only to violence and destruction. They dared to seek multilateral solutions to increasingly shared problems.
                Robert Schuman, at the very birth of the first European community, stated that “Europe will not be made all at once, or according to a single plan.  It will be built through concrete achievements which first create a de facto solidarity”.   Today, in our own world, marked by so much conflict and suffering, there is a need to return to the same de facto solidarity and concrete generosity that followed the Second World War, because, as Schuman noted, “world peace cannot be safeguarded without making creative efforts proportionate to the dangers threatening it”.   The founding fathers were heralds of peace and prophets of the future.  Today more than ever, their vision inspires us to build bridges and tear down walls.  That vision urges us not to be content with cosmetic retouches or convoluted compromises aimed at correcting this or that treaty, but courageously to lay new and solid foundations.  As Alcide De Gasperi stated, “equally inspired by concern for the common good of our European homeland”, all are called to embark fearlessly on a “construction project that demands our full quota of patience and our ongoing cooperation”. 
                Such a “memory transfusion” can enable us to draw inspiration from the past in order to confront with courage the complex multipolar framework of our own day and to take up with determination the challenge of “updating” the idea of Europe.  A Europe capable of giving birth to a new humanism based on three capacities: the capacity to integrate, the capacity for dialogue and the capacity to generate.
The capacity to integrate
                Erich Przywara, in his splendid work Idee Europa [The Idea of Europe], challenges us to think of the city as a place where various instances and levels coexist.  He was familiar with the reductionist tendency inherent in every attempt to rethink the social fabric.  Many of our cities are remarkably beautiful precisely because they have managed to preserve over time traces of different ages, nations, styles and visions.  We need but look at the inestimable cultural patrimony of Rome to realize that the richness and worth of a people is grounded in its ability to combine all these levels in a healthy coexistence.  Forms of reductionism and attempts at uniformity, far from generating value, condemn our peoples to a cruel poverty: the poverty of exclusion.  Far from bestowing grandeur, riches and beauty, exclusion leads to vulgarity, narrowness, and cruelty.  Far from bestowing nobility of spirit, it brings meanness.
                The roots of our peoples, the roots of Europe, were consolidated down the centuries by the constant need to integrate in new syntheses the most varied and discrete cultures.  The identity of Europe is, and always has been, a dynamic and multicultural identity.
                Political activity cannot fail to see the urgency of this fundamental task. We know that “the whole is greater than the part, but it is also greater than the sum of the parts”, and this requires that we work to “broaden our horizons and see the greater good which will benefit us all” (Evangelii Gaudium, 235).  We are asked to promote an integration that finds in solidarity a way of acting, a means of making history.  Solidarity should never be confused with charitable assistance, but understood as a means of creating opportunities for all the inhabitants of our cities – and of so many other cities – to live with dignity.  Time is teaching us that it is not enough simply to settle individuals geographically: the challenge is that of a profound cultural integration.
The community of European peoples will thus be able to overcome the temptation of falling back on unilateral paradigms and opting for forms of “ideological colonization”.  Instead, it will rediscover the breadth of the European soul, born of the encounter of civilizations and peoples.  The soul of Europe is in fact greater than the present borders of the Union and is called to become a model of new syntheses and of dialogue.  The true face of Europe is seen not in confrontation, but in the richness of its various cultures and the beauty of its commitment to openness.   Without this capacity for integration, the words once spoken by Konrad Adenauer will prove prophetic: “the future of the West is not threatened as much by political tensions as by the danger of conformism, uniformity of thoughts and feelings: in a word, by the whole system of life, by flight from responsibility, with concern only for oneself.”
The capacity for dialogue
                If there is one word that we should never tire of repeating, it is this: dialogue.  We are called to promote a culture of dialogue by every possible means and thus to rebuild the fabric of society.  The culture of dialogue entails a true apprenticeship and a discipline that enables us to view others as valid dialogue partners, to respect the foreigner, the immigrant and people from different cultures as worthy of being listened to.  Today we urgently need to engage all the members of society in building “a culture which privileges dialogue as a form of encounter” and in creating “a means for building consensus and agreement while seeking the goal of a just, responsive and inclusive society” (Evangelii Gaudium, 239).  Peace will be lasting in the measure that we arm our children with the weapons of dialogue, that we teach them to fight the good fight of encounter and negotiation.  In this way, we will bequeath to them a culture capable of devising strategies of life, not death, and of inclusion, not exclusion.
                This culture of dialogue should be an integral part of the education imparted in our schools, cutting across disciplinary lines and helping to give young people the tools needed to settle conflicts differently than we are accustomed to do.  Today we urgently need to build “coalitions” that are not only military and economic, but cultural, educational, philosophical and religious.  Coalitions that can make clear that, behind many conflicts, there is often in play the power of economic groups.  Coalitions capable of defending people from being exploited for improper ends.  Let us arm our people with the culture of dialogue and encounter.
The capacity to generate
                Dialogue, with all that it entails, reminds us that no one can remain a mere onlooker or bystander.  Everyone, from the smallest to the greatest, has an active role to play in the creation of an integrated and reconciled society.  This culture of dialogue can come about only if all of us take part in planning and building it.   The present situation does not permit anyone to stand by and watch other people’s struggles.  On the contrary, it is a forceful summons to personal and social responsibility.
                In this sense, our young people have a critical role.  They are not the future of our peoples; they are the present.  Even now, with their dreams and their lives they are forging the spirit of Europe.  We cannot look to the future without offering them the real possibility to be catalysts of change and transformation. We cannot envision Europe without letting them be participants and protagonists in this dream.
                Lately I have given much thought to this.  I ask myself:  How we can involve our young people in this building project if we fail to offer them employment, dignified labour that lets them grow and develop through their handiwork, their intelligence and their abilities?  How can we tell them that they are protagonists, when the levels of employment and underemployment of millions of young Europeans are continually rising?  How can we avoid losing our young people, who end up going elsewhere in search of their dreams and a sense of belonging, because here, in their own countries, we don’t know how to offer them opportunities and values?
                The just distribution of the fruits of the earth and human labour is not mere philanthropy.  It is a moral obligation.   If we want to rethink our society, we need to create dignified and well-paying jobs, especially for our young people.
                To do so requires coming up with new, more inclusive and equitable economic models, aimed not at serving the few, but at benefiting ordinary people and society as a whole.  This calls for moving from a liquid economy to a social economy; I think for example of the social market economy encouraged by my predecessors (cf. JOHN PAUL II, Address to the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, 8 November 1990).  It would involve passing from an economy directed at revenue, profiting from speculation and lending at interest, to a social economy that invests in persons by creating jobs and providing training.
                We need to move from a liquid economy prepared to use corruption as a means of obtaining profits to a social economy that guarantees access to land and lodging through labour.  Labour is in fact the setting in which individuals and communities bring into play “many aspects of life: creativity, planning for the future, developing talents, living out values, relating to others, giving glory to God.  It follows that, in the reality of today’s global society, it is essential that we ‘continue to prioritize the role of access to steady employment for everyone, no matter the limited interests of business and dubious economic reasoning’ ” (Encyclical Laudato Si’, 127).
                If we want a dignified future, a future of peace for our societies, we will only be able to achieve it by working for genuine inclusion, “an inclusion which provides worthy, free, creative, participatory and solidary work”.   This passage (from a liquid economy to a social economy) will not only offer new prospects and concrete opportunities for integration and inclusion, but will makes us once more capable of envisaging that humanism of which Europe has been the cradle and wellspring.
                To the rebirth of a Europe weary, yet still rich in energies and possibilities, the Church can and must play her part.  Her task is one with her mission: the proclamation of the Gospel, which today more than ever finds expression in going forth to bind the wounds of humanity with the powerful yet simple presence of Jesus, and his mercy that consoles and encourages.  God desires to dwell in our midst, but he can only do so through men and women who, like the great evangelizers of this continent, have been touched by him and live for the Gospel, seeking nothing else.  Only a Church rich in witnesses will be able to bring back the pure water of the Gospel to the roots of Europe.  In this enterprise, the path of Christians towards full unity is a great sign of the times and a response to the Lord’s prayer “that they may all be one” (Jn 17:21).
                With mind and heart, with hope and without vain nostalgia, like a son who rediscovers in Mother Europe his roots of life and faith, I dream of a new European humanism, one that involves “a constant work of humanization” and calls for “memory, courage, [and] a sound and humane utopian vision”.    I dream of a Europe that is young, still capable of being a mother: a mother who has life because she respects life and offers hope for life.  I dream of a Europe that cares for children, that offers fraternal help to the poor and those newcomers seeking acceptance because they have lost everything and need shelter.  I dream of a Europe that is attentive to and concerned for the infirm and the elderly, lest they be simply set aside as useless.  I dream of a Europe where being a migrant is not a crime but a summons to greater commitment on behalf of the dignity of every human being.  I dream of a Europe where young people breathe the pure air of honesty, where they love the beauty of a culture and a simple life undefiled by the insatiable needs of consumerism, where getting married and having children is a responsibility and a great joy, not a problem due to the lack of stable employment.  I dream of a Europe of families, with truly effective policies concentrated on faces rather than numbers, on birth rates more than rates of consumption.  I dream of a Europe that promotes and protects the rights of everyone, without neglecting its duties towards all.  I dream of a Europe of which it will not be said that its commitment to human rights was its last utopia.

Saint May 6 : St. Eadbert : Bishop


St. Eadbert
BISHOP
Feast: May 6


     Information:
Feast Day:May 6
Born:7th century England Died: May 698
Venerable Bede assures us, that this holy man excelled both in the knowledge of the holy scriptures, and in the observance of the divine precepts. All his lifetime he was remarkable for his alms-deeds, and it was a law with him to lay aside yearly the tenth part of his goods for the poor. He was ordained successor to St. Cuthbert, in the see of Lindisfarne, in 687, and most worthily governed that church eleven years. It was his custom twice a year, in Lent, and during forty days before Christmas, to retire into a solitary place, encompassed by the waters of the sea, where St. Cuthbert had for some time served God in private before he went to the isle of Ferne. St. Eadbert spent this time remote from all company, in abstinence, prayers, and tears. St. Cuthbert had been buried about eleven years, when the brethren desired, with the approbation of Eadbert, to take up the bones of that eminent servant of God, whose life had been signalized by many illustrious miracles. Instead of dust, to which they expected they were reduced to their great surprise they found the body as entire, and the joints all as pliable as if it had been living—all the vestments and clothes in which it was laid were also sound, and wonderfully fresh and bright. The monks made haste to inform the holy bishop, who was then in his Lent retreat, and they brought him part of the garments which covered the holy body. These he devoutly kissed, and ordered that the blessed body should be laid in other garments, put into the new coffin which was made for the holy relics, and, for greater veneration, placed above the pavement in the sanctuary. He added, that the grave which had been sanctified by so great a miracle of heavenly grace, would not remain long empty. This was accordingly done, and presently after Eadbert, the bishop beloved of God, fell dangerously sick, and his distemper daily increasing, on the 6th of May following he departed to our Lord. His body was laid in St. Cuthbert's grave, and over the place was deposited the uncorrupted body of that glorious servant of God. "Miracles here wrought from time to time, in curing the sick, bear testimony to the merits of them both," says Bede. The same historian informs us, that St. Eadbert covered with lead the church of Lindisfarne, which was dedicated by the archbishop Theodorus, under the patronage of St. Peter. It had been formerly built by bishop Finan, after the Scottish fashion, of oak boards and thatched with reeds. source: Lives of the SaintsHoly/saints/WrittenbyAlbanButler#Edited

Thursday, May 5, 2016

What is the Ascension of Jesus into Heaven? Bible Answers on #Ascension and #Novena Prayer

The Ascension of Jesus is told in the Bible in Acts 1:9-11. This teaching explains that the resurrected Jesus was taken up to Heaven 40 days after the resurrection. The Gospels also describe the ascension of Jesus in Luke 24:50-53 and Mark 16:19. The ascension of Jesus is included in the Nicene Creed and in the Apostles' Creed. The Feast of the Ascension, is celebrated on the 40th day of Easter (always a Thursday). In some countries this Feast is transferred to the Sunday following the Thursday. Jesus said unto them, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation. Jesus led the eleven disciples to Bethany, not far from Jerusalem.  Then he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he parted from them, and was carried up into heaven. Acts 1:9 describes the Ascension: "And when he had said these things, as they were looking, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight." The Ascension took place on Mount Olivet. The Chapel of the Ascension in Jerusalem today is venerated by Christians and Muslims. There is a 12x12 meter octagonal structure (called a martyrium—"memorial"—or "Edicule") that remains to this day. Russian Orthodox have a Convent of the Ascension on the top of the Mount of Olives. Christian theology[edit]  The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains:"Christ's Ascension into heaven signifies his participation, in his humanity, in God's power and authority." CCC 668. In  John 20:17 Jesus told St. Mary Magdalene: "I have not yet ascended to the Father; go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God"
Ascension remembers the day when Jesus went up into heaven 40 days after He rose from the dead.  The Ascension is often transferred to the Sunday so that people can attend Mass.
Novena Prayer (Say 9 Times)
Antiphon
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of Thy love.
V. Send forth Thy Spirit, and they shall be created.
R. And Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.
Let us Pray:
O God, who hast taught the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant that by the gift of the same Spirit we may be always truly wise, and ever rejoice in His consolations,
Through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.
Our Father
Hail Mary
Glory Be

#PopeFrancis New Video for May Prayer Intentions on Respect for Women - FULL TEXT - Video


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis’ prayer intention for May is for the Respect for Women: That in every country of the world, women may be honored and respected and that their essential contribution to society may be highly esteemed. 
The Apostleship of Prayer has produced the Pope’s Video on this prayer intention.
The full text of the Pope’s Video is below
Women
The contribution of women in all areas of human activity is undeniable, beginning with the family. But only to recognize it…Is that enough? We have done little for the women who are in very difficult situations--despised, marginalized, and even reduced to slavery.
We must condemn sexual violence against women and remove the barriers that prevent their full integration into social, political, and economic life. If you think this is clearly right, join my petition. It is a prayer--that in all countries of the world women may be honored and respected and valued for their essential contribution to society.
I DO MY JOB AS WELL AS A MAN. I WILL NEVER BE A SLAVE. NO GENDER VIOLENCE.
ENOUGH OF DISCRIMINATION AT WORK. MEN AND WOMEN ARE CHILDREN OF GOD.

#PopeFrancis "Jesus’ tears cannot go without a response..." FULL TEXT - Video at Prayer Vigil to "Dry the Tears"

Pope Francis leads a prayer vigil in St. Peter's Basilica for those in need of consolation - REUTERS
Pope Francis leads a prayer vigil in St. Peter's Basilica for those in need of consolation - REUTERS
05/05/2016 17:30


(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis on Thursday (the Feast of the Ascension) presided over a prayer vigil “To Dry the Tears” in St Peter’s Basilica dedicated to all those who are suffering and who seek consolation. Members of one family and two individuals who have undergone different types of suffering in their lives testified to the gathering about their painful experience and how they were helped to recover from it. During the vigil the reliquary of Our Lady of Tears of Syracuse were on display inside the basilica for the veneration of the faithful. This reliquary is linked to the extraordinary phenomenon that occurred in 1953, when a small plaster picture depicting the Immaculate Heart of Mary that was hanging above the bed of a young Italian married couple shed human tears. The reliquary contains part of the tears that flowed miraculously from the image of Our Lady.
Please find below a translation into English of Pope Francis’ prepared meditation during the Prayer Vigil.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
                After the moving testimonies we have heard, and in the light of the word of the Lord that gives meaning to our suffering, let us first ask Holy Spirit to come among us.  May he enlighten our minds to find the right words capable of bringing comfort.  May he open our hearts to the certainty that God is always present and never abandons us in times of trouble.  The Lord Jesus promised his disciples that he would not leave them alone, but at all times in life he would remain close to them by sending his Spirit, the Comforter (cf. Jn 14:26) to help, sustain and console them.
                At times of sadness, suffering and sickness, amid the anguish of persecution and grief, everyone looks for a word of consolation.  We sense a powerful need for someone to be close and feel compassion for us.  We experience what it means to be disoriented, confused, more heartsick than we ever thought possible.  We look around us with uncertainty, trying to see if we can find someone who really understands our pain.  Our mind is full of questions but answers do not come.  Reason by itself is not capable of making sense of our deepest feelings, appreciating the grief we experience and providing the answers we are looking for.  At times like these, more than ever do we need the reasons of the heart, which alone can help us understand the mystery which embraces our loneliness.
                How much sadness we see in so many faces all around us!  How many tears are shed every second in our world; each is different but together they form, as it were, an ocean of desolation that cries out for mercy, compassion and consolation.  The bitterest tears are those caused by human evil: the tears of those who have seen a loved one violently torn from them; the tears of grandparents, mothers and fathers, children; eyes that keep staring at the sunset and find it hard to see the dawn of a new day.  We need the mercy, the consolation that comes from the Lord.  All of us need it.  This is our poverty but also our grandeur: to plead for the consolation of God, who in his tenderness comes to wipe the tears from our eyes (cf. Is 25:8; Rev 7:17; 21:4).
                In our pain, we are not alone.  Jesus, too, knows what it means to weep for the loss of a loved one.  In one of the most moving pages of the Gospel, Jesus sees Mary weeping for the death of her brother Lazarus.  Nor can he hold back tears.  He was deeply moved and began to weep (cf. Jn 11:33-35).  The evangelist John, in describing this, wanted to show how much Jesus shared in the sadness and grief of his friends.  Jesus’ tears have unsettled many theologians over the centuries, but even more they have bathed so many souls and been a balm to so much hurt.  Jesus also experienced in his own person the fear of suffering and death, disappointment and discouragement at the betrayal of Judas and Peter, and grief at the death of his friend Lazarus.  Jesus “does not abandon those whom he loves” (Augustine, In Joh., 49, 5).  If God could weep, then I too can weep, in the knowledge that he understands me.  The tears of Jesus serve as an antidote to my indifference before the suffering of my brothers and sisters.  His tears teach me to make my own the pain of others, to share in the discouragement and sufferings of those experiencing painful situations.  They make me realize the sadness and desperation of those who have even seen the body of a dear one taken from them, and who no longer have a place in which to find consolation.  Jesus’ tears cannot go without a response on the part of those who believe in him.  As he consoles, so we too are called to console.
                In the moment of confusion, dismay and tears, Christ’s heart turned in prayer to the Father.  Prayer is the true medicine for our suffering.  In prayer, we too can feel God’s presence.  The tenderness of his gaze comforts us; the power of his word supports us and gives us hope.  Jesus, standing before the tomb of Lazarus, prayed, saying: “Father, I thank you for having heard me.  I knew that you always hear me” (Jn 11:41-42).  We too need the certainty that the Father hears us and comes to our aid.  The love of God, poured into our hearts, allows us to say that when we love, nothing and no one will ever be able to separate us from those we have loved.  The apostle Paul tells us this with words of great comfort: “Who will separate us from the love of Christ?  Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness or the sword? … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:35, 37-39).  The power of love turns suffering into the certainty of Christ’s victory, and our own in union with him, and into the hope that one day we will once more be together and will forever contemplate the face of the Blessed Trinity, the eternal wellspring of life and love.
                At the foot of every cross, the Mother of Jesus is always there.  With her mantle, she wipes away our tears.  With her outstretched hand, she helps us to rise up and she accompanies us along the path of hope.”

#NationalDayofPrayer - 65th Annual - OFFICIAL Prayer and Theme - SHARE



The 65th annual National Day of Prayer, May 5, 2016The 65th annual National Day of Prayer, May 5, 2016, will have profound significance for our country.  It is an unprecedented opportunity to see the Lord’s healing and renewing power made manifest as we call on citizens to humbly come before His throne.

NDP_Theme-PPSlide.jpegOur theme for 2016 is Wake Up America, emphasizing the need for individuals, corporately and individually, to return to the God of our Fathers in reverence for His Holy Name. To further highlight our theme, we’ve chosen Isaiah 58:1a as our Scripture for this year:  “Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet.

For the May 5th observances, Dr. Tony Evans, the 2016 Honorary Chairman, wrote aspecial prayer to be simultaneously read throughout the nation at noon (ET).  This recitation will create a huge wave of prayer, flowing from one coast to the other, illustrating the unity of God’s people and acknowledging His dominion over the circumstances facing us.  Millions of people will gather to pray at thousands of events facilitated by our volunteer coordinators and people just like you!  We hope you’ll join with our staff again as we seek to bring more communities than ever before together in prayer.  As a way of assisting you, we have assembled a variety of resources that equip you to organize and publicize prayer gatherings, citywide prayer breakfasts, worship services, and rallies.  These materials also present creative ideas geared toward helping individuals and families to establish meaningful devotional times.  If you have any questions after reviewing these items, please don’t hesitate to contact our NDP staff at (800) 444-8828.  We would count it a privilege to lend a hand in whatever manner we are able.

At this crucial time for our nation, we can do nothing more important than pray.  Thank you in advance for making this spiritual discipline a personal priority and for standing with us as we encourage others to incorporate prayer in their lives.  The Lord has graciously anointed our efforts, empowering them to touch and change many hearts and lives.  We look forward to seeing His hand move across our land in exciting ways each May in response to our petitions!  In closing, we ask that you prayerfully consider becoming a volunteer in your church or community to lead a National Day of Prayer gathering. May the Lord’s peace fill your heart as you rest in Him throughout the days ahead.
Watch
For the May 7th observances, Dr. Jack Graham, the 2015 Honorary Chairman, wrote aspecial prayer (below) to be simultaneously read throughout the nation at noon (EDT).  This recitation will create a huge wave of prayer, flowing from one coast to the other, illustrating the unity of God’s people and acknowledging His dominion over the circumstances facing us.  Millions of people will gather to pray at thousands of events facilitated by our volunteer coordinators and people just like you!  We hope you’ll join with our staff again as we seek to bring more communities than ever before together in prayer.  As a way of assisting you, we have assembled a variety of resources that describe how to organize and publicize citywide prayer breakfasts, worship services, and rallies.  These materials also present creative ideas geared toward helping individuals and families to establish meaningful devotional times.  If you have any questions after reviewing these items, please don’t hesitate to contact our NDP staff at (800) 444-8828.  We would count it a privilege to lend a hand in whatever manner we are able.
At this crucial time for our nation, we can do nothing more important than pray.  Thank you in advance for making this spiritual discipline a personal priority and for standing with us as we encourage others to incorporate prayer in their lives.  The Lord has graciously anointed our efforts, empowering them to touch and change many hearts and lives.  We look forward to seeing His hand move across our land in exciting ways each May in response to our petitions!  In closing, we ask that you prayerfully consider becoming a volunteer in your church or community to lead a National Day of Prayer gathering. May the Lord’s peace fill your heart as you rest in Him throughout the days ahead.
Quick Links:
Dear heavenly Father, we come to You today as a humble people desperate for Your supernatural intervention on behalf of our beloved nation.  First, we thank You for all the blessings You have bestowed on our land, blessings that have allowed us to bring so much good and benefit to not only our own citizens but also to the rest of the world. The very ideals upon which this country was founded were based on biblical truths, no matter how some try to rewrite history to deny that very fact today.
This is why our hearts are so broken over how You continue to be marginalized and dismissed by both our people and our institutions. We are also saddened by the fact that Your people have contributed greatly to the spiritual apathy that now engulfs us. Our satisfaction in remaining religious without being fully committed to living out the truths of Your Word has caused us to become co-conspirators with the forces of evil that are destroying us as a society.
It is for this reason that we personally and collectively repent of our carnality and recommit ourselves to becoming visible and verbal disciples of Jesus Christ. Enable us, by Your Spirit, to no longer be secret agent Christians but rather to publicly declare and live out Your truth in a spirit of love so that You feel welcome in our country once again.
Thank You for Your promise to hear our prayers when we call to You with hearts of repentance and obedience, which is how we are appealing to You today, Father. On behalf of Your church, we affirm afresh the priority You are to us that You would fill every dimension of our lives as we seek to bring You glory through the advancement of Your kingdom in our personal lives, our family lives, and in the lives of our churches and our government leaders. We confidently invite heaven’s intervention into all the affairs of our nation and we praise You in advance for Your answer.
In Jesus’ name we pray.
Amen.
by Dr. Tony Evans

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

In times of steady calm and extraordinary change alike, Americans of all walks of life have long turned to prayer to seek refuge, demonstrate gratitude, and discover peace.  Sustaining us through great uncertainty and moments of sorrow, prayer allows us an outlet for introspection, and for expressing our hopes, desires, and fears.  It offers strength in the face of hardship, and redemption when we falter.  Our country was founded on the idea of religious freedom, and we have long upheld the belief that how we pray and whether we pray are matters reserved for an individual's own conscience.  On National Day of Prayer, we rededicate ourselves to extending this freedom to all people.

Every day, women and men use the wisdom gained from humble prayer to spread kindness and to make our world a better place.  Faith communities at home and abroad have helped feed the hungry, heal the sick, and protect innocents from violence.  Nurturing communities with love and understanding, their prayer inspires their work, which embodies a timeless notion that has kept humanity going through the ages -- that one of our most sacred responsibilities is to give of ourselves in service to others.

The threats of poverty, violence, and war around the world are all too real.  Our faith and our earnest prayers can be cures for the fear we feel as we confront these realities.  Helping us resist despair, paralysis, or cynicism, prayer offers a powerful alternative to pessimism.  Through prayer, we often gain the insight to learn from our mistakes, the motivation to always be better, and the courage to stand up for what is right, even when it is not popular.

Each of us is an author in our collective American story, and in participating in our national discourse to address some of our Nation's greatest challenges, we are reminded of the blessing we have to live in a land where we are able to freely express the beliefs we hold in our hearts.  The United States will continue to stand up for those around the world who are subject to fear or violence because of their religion or beliefs.  As a Nation free to practice our faith as we choose, we must remember those around the world who are not afforded this freedom, and we must recommit to building a society where all can enjoy this liberty and live their lives in peace and dignity.

On this day, may our faiths enable us to sow the seeds of progress in our ever-changing world.  Let us resolve to guide our children and grandchildren to embrace freedom for all, to see God in everyone, and to remember that no matter what differences they may have, they, just like we, will always be united by their common humanity.

The Congress, by Public Law 100-307, as amended, has called on the President to issue each year a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May as a "National Day of Prayer."

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim May 5, 2016, as National Day of Prayer.  I invite the citizens of our Nation to give thanks, in accordance with their own faiths and consciences, for our many freedoms and blessings, and I join all people of faith in asking for God's continued guidance, mercy, and protection as we seek a more just world. 

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fourth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand sixteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fortieth.

 

 BARACK OBAMA