This Week in Prayer

This weekly column – a prompt and a resource for your prayer and awareness – is specially intended to be helpful in preparing prayer for a community or group. You are welcome to alert us to upcoming special occasions within the Edmund Rice Network.

Monday 7 July 2014

EXTINCTION ALERT

Today is exactly eight years since the Western Black Rhinoceros was declared extinct due to poaching – another reminder of the need for conservation of the earth’s rich range of life species. Over the past century, the near-extinction of the African white rhino was successfully reversed by conservation efforts, but in the past few years there has been an alarming rise in poaching. In South Africa, where the great majority of white rhinos are found, the figures have risen from 13 killed in 2007, to 83 in 2008, to 122 in 2009, to 333 in 2010, and so on. Increasingly these killings are hi-tech international operations, and typically they involve the brutal hacking off of the animal’s horns (Spot the brute…) See the website www.SaveTheRhino.org

“The miracle of gratitude is that it shifts you perception to such an extent that it changes the world you see.”  (Dr Robert Holden)

Tuesday 8 July

HIDDEN HEROISM

Do you remember the name Lisa Potts? Picking up on the abovementioned theme of unhyped heroism, today is also the eighth anniversary of that incident at a primary school in Wolverhampton, England, in which a disturbed individual wielding a machete wounded a number of children and adults. Lisa Potts was the injured teacher who put herself in further danger to protect her pupils. Not all heroism involves the drama of blood, but it is inspiring to notice its manifestations around us, not least within the Edmund Rice Network where – though we tend to play things low-key – there is no shortage of inspiring stories. You are invited to help channel such stories to this website.

“Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around us in awareness.”  (Leland Val Vandewall)

Wednesday 9 July

OUR LADY OF PEACE and

ARGENTINA’S NATIONAL DAY

Our Lady of Peace, a less-celebrated title given to the mother of Jesus, is a reminder of our earth’s crying need for peace as some thirty serious conflicts rage around us.

On Argentina’s National Day, let us remember in our prayer all in the Edmund Rice Network in that country, especially those whose stories are carried on this website.

“Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing. You get to choose.”  (Dr Wayne Dyer)

Thursday 10 July

INTERNATIONAL HAPPINESS DAY and

SILENCE DAY

International Happiness Day is still in the process of being officially established – see www.happinessday.org – but it comes as a reminder of the challenge to courageously embrace happiness in our lives instead of passively waiting for better days and envying greener grass. As William Feather puts it: “Plenty of people miss their share of happiness, not because they never found it, but because they didn’t stop to enjoy it.”

Silence Day is a little-known tradition of the followers of the late Indian mystic Meher Baba. The details can easily be googled by anyone interested to know more, but the mere simple reminder is likely to have wider appeal. Silence is a little-cherished experience in today’s world – modern lifestyles almost seemed designed to shun it. Yet it remains an essential element for spiritual growth. Today might serve as an occasion to ask ourselves whether we give ourselves as much silence as we need to enable us to live with space for reflection, study, and prayer.

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”  (Theodore Roosevelt)

Friday 11 July

ST BENEDICT and

WORLD POPULATION DAY

St Benedict of Nursia is known as the founder of western Christian monasticism. He started a number of monasteries, but the Order that takes its name from him is actually a confederation of autonomous foundations sharing a common way of life. St Benedict’s ‘Rule’ is distinguished for its balance and reasonableness.

World Population Day is an initiative of the UN Development Programme. The ever-growing population of the world is now on the brink or reaching 7 billion people. UNFPA’s target is to “ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect”.

“Four short words sum up what has lifted most successful individuals above the crowd: a little bit more. They did all that was expected of them and a little bit more.”  (Lou Vickery)

Saturday 12 July

SIMPLICITY DAY and

‘THE TWELFTH’ (NORTHERN IRELAND)

Simplicity Day is tied to the birthday of Henry David Thoreau, an early advocate of simplifying life: “As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler”. Voluntary simplicity encourages us to live with “ecological awareness, frugal consumption, and personal growth” – cf www.betterworldcalendar.com

‘The Twelfth’ is a sensitive day in Northern Ireland. Recalling the 1690 Battle of the Boyne fought near Drogheda, it became a day layered with confrontation and accompanying emotions. A day to pray for the deepening of healing of Ireland’s painful memories.

“In every person who comes near you look for what is good and strong; honor that; try to imitate it, and your faults will drop off like dead leaves when their time comes.”  (John Ruskin)

Sunday 13 July

15th SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME and

SEA SUNDAY and

BAHAI FEAST OF KALIMAT (WORDS)

Here are six places where you can find commentaries on this Sunday’s readings:

·      On the right of our home page: find PRAYER GUIDE and click SUNDAY REFLECTION.

·      www.silk.net/RelEd - click Mass Readings > click on 13 July (for the texts themselves).

·      www.goodnews.ie – click Gospel Commentary > click on 13 July.

·      www.liturgy.slu.edu – scroll to 13 July > Get to Know the Readings. (Also in Spanish.)

·      www.salvationhistory.com – click Sun. Bible Reflections under Daily Bread. (Also in Spanish.)

Sea Sunday is a reminder of those who make their living on the sea - 97% men, 3% women, often drawn from the poorest nations. In this precarious and demanding profession, three die each day: one by suicide, one of natural causes, and one in an accident.

The feast of Kalimat, and the month it starts in the Bahai calendar, celebrates the creative power of God’s Word and invites us to water the seeds of this Word in our hearts.

“Those who are lifting the world upward and onward are those who encourage more than criticize.”  (Elizabeth Harrison)

For further websites and blogs that can support your prayer and reflection, click the PRIVATE REFLECTIONS button under PRAYER GUIDE on the right of our home page.

brother Michael Burke

editor