December 2023: Prayers and Reflections

Prayers and Reflections
December 2023/ January 2024

The Pope’s Monthly Intention
December – For persons with disabilities: We pray that people living with disabilities may be at the centre of attention in society, and that institutions may offer inclusive programmes which value their active participation.

January – For the gift of diversity in the Church: We pray that the Holy Spirit may help us to recognise the gift of different charisms within the Christian community and to discover the richness of different traditions and rituals in the Catholic Church.

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The Meaning and Importance of the Nativity Scene
The presence of the poor and the lowly in the nativity scene remind us that God became man for the sake of those who feel most in need of his love and who ask him to draw near to them. Jesus, ‘gentle and humble in heart’ (Mt 11:29), was born in poverty and led a simple life in order to teach us to recognise what is essential and to act accordingly. The nativity scene clearly teaches that we cannot let ourselves be fooled by wealth and fleeting promises of happiness. From the manger, Jesus proclaims, in a meek yet powerful way, the need for sharing with the poor as the path to a more human and fraternal world in which no one is excluded or marginalised.

Pope Francis, Admirabile Signum

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Blessing for a Christmas Tree
Lord God, amidst signs and wonders Christ Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea: his birth brings joy to our hearts and enlightenment to our minds.

Let your blessing come upon us
as we illumine this tree.
May the light and cheer it gives
be a sign of the joy that fills our hearts.

With this tree, decorated and adorned, may we welcome Christ among us; may its lights guide us to the perfect light.

May all who delight in this tree
come to the knowledge and joy of salvation.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
R/. Amen.

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Prayer for those grieving at Christmas
Lord, not everyone feels joyful at this season. So many have lost loved ones during the year, and in many places, the winter cold blows its bitter winds into lonely hearts. This Christmas we pray for those who are grieving losses. Memories of happy times with loved ones in the past can send a rush of tears to those whose arms ache with emptiness. Lord, dry those tears with Your sweet words of comfort and cheer. Turn their sorrow into joy as only You can do. May the joy of Your birth and the good news of Your coming to earth as the Savior of the world cushion their grief this Christmas and bring peace to those who need it most. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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A Prayer for the New Year

Dear Lord, please give me…
A few friends who understand me and remain my friends;
A work to do which has real value, without which the world would be the poorer;
A mind unafraid to travel, even though the trail be not blazed;
An understanding heart;
A sense of humor;
Time for quiet, silent meditation;
A feeling of the presence of God;
The patience to wait for the coming of these things,
With the wisdom to recognise them when they come.

 Author Unknown

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Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 18-25 January 2024
We Are One With You

O God, we are one with you. You have made us one with you.
You have taught us that if we are open to one another, you dwell in us.
Help us to preserve this openness and to fight for it with all our hearts. Help us to realise that there can be no understanding where there is mutual rejection.


O God, in accepting one another wholeheartedly, fully, completely, we accept you, and we thank you, and we adore you, and we love you with our whole being, because our being is your being, our spirit is rooted in your spirit. Fill us then with love, and let us be bound together with love as we go our diverse ways, united in this one spirit which makes you present in the world, and which makes you witness to the ultimate reality that is love. Love has overcome. Love is victorious.

Thomas Merton

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