Christmas 2020: Prayers and Reflections

Prayers and Reflections for December/January

‘Then, too the creator of ages would be born in time and the nature of God would join with the nature of the slave in the unity of one person. He through whom the world was created would himself be bought forth in the midst of all creation.’

St Leo the Great – Advent Office of Readings

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Advent Examination of Conscience

Reflect on ways you may have turned away from loving God, our neighbours and the earth:

How do my actions show my compassion for all those who are trapped in grinding poverty?

Do I cherish and protect creation, remembering that God is the creator of all?

Advent calls us to change our lives: how will you ‘prepare a way for the Lord’ in your life?

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Christmas reflection: Behold the Lamb of God

Jesus is a shepherd who knows what it is like to be a lamb. He becomes one of the vulnerable flock. He has been made a victim of ‘the wolves’ disguised in sheep’s clothing. He ‘wipes away the tears’ (Rev 21:4) of the ‘Holy Innocents’ who are brutalised by today’s modern ‘Herod’ – as they are ‘washed in the blood of the Lamb’ (Rev 7:14).

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Epiphany – 6 January

Today’s feast celebrates the inclusion of all the people, cultures and religions of the nations of the world. Jesus shares our human nature to redeem and save all humanity in a generous love. In the words of the preface of today’s Mass: ‘For today you have revealed the mystery of our salvation in Christ as a light to the nations.’

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Baptism of the Lord – 10 January

Whenever there is a sudden downpour of rain, you often hear people saying ‘the heavens opened.’ The phrase is used about the baptism of Jesus in today’s gospel. Baptism does not remove us from the world. It saturates and soaks us in the muddied waters of every human need. As baptised people, we are embraced as God’s ‘beloved’ through his living Spirit.

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Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: 18–25 January

‘Abide in my love … You shall bear much fruit’ (John 15:5-9) is the theme for this year’s prayer for Christian Unity. It is the Gospel desire of the Lord: THAT ALL MAY BE ONE (John 17:21). We pray for the fruits of a closer communion with all Christians, a living witness to our common baptism and a deeper solidarity with all creation.

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The Conversion of St Paul – 23 January

This is an astonishing story of God’s grace at work in Paul’s life: From persecutor to preacher; from weakness to wonder; from foe to friend; from Saul to Paul. We meet a man who has a direct encounter with the divine. May Christ throw us off our horses so that we in our jaded church might see his dazzling light, renew our faith and hear his voice as he asks … ‘why are you persecuting me?’ May we rise from our spiritual amnesia of deaf muteness to proclaim to all people the joy of the gospel of life and love.

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Saint Angela Merici (1474-1540) – 27 January

Angela was prophetic and
far-seeing. She met opposition and obstacles,
yet she founded the Ursuline Sisters. They were the first teaching order for women approved by the Church.

Her words are still an inspiration for us today:

‘Be faithful to that which God has called you.’ ‘Christ is our only treasure.’ ‘Beware of trying to accomplish anything by force.’

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Saint Thomas Aquinas (1224-1274) – 28 January

Inspiring words on faith, hope and love …

‘Faith has to do with things that are not seen and hope with things that are not at hand.’

‘Love takes up where knowledge leaves off.’

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