October 2023: Prayers and Reflections
The Pope’s Monthly Intention
For the Synod: We pray for the Church, that she may adopt listening and dialogue as a lifestyle at every level, and allow herself to be guided by the Holy Spirit towards the peripheries of the world.
* * *
Prayer for the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in Rome
We stand before You, Holy Spirit, as we gather together in your name.
With you alone to guide us, make Yourself at home in our hearts;
Teach us the way we must go and how we are to pursue it.
We are weak and sinful; do not let us promote disorder.
Do not let ignorance lead us down the wrong path nor partiality influence our actions.
Let us find in You our unity so that we may journey together to eternal life
and not stray from the way of truth and what is right.
All this we ask of You, who are at work in every place and time, in the communion of the Father and the Son forever and ever. Amen.
* * *
St Francis of Assisi • 4 October
What does Saint Francis’s witness tell us today? What does he have to say to us, not merely with words – that is easy enough– but by his life? His first and most essential witness is this: that being a Christian means having a living relationship with the person of Jesus; it means putting on Christ, being conformed to him. Where did Francis’s journey to Christ begin? It began with the gaze of the crucified Jesus. With letting Jesus look at us at the very moment that he gives his life for us and draws us to himself. Francis experienced this in a special way in the Church of San Damiano, as he prayed before the cross. On that cross, Jesus is depicted not as dead, but alive! Blood is flowing from his wounded hands, feet and side, but that blood speaks of life. Jesus’ eyes are not closed but open, wide open: he looks at us in a way that touches our hearts.
We turn to you, Francis, and we ask you: Teach us to remain before the cross, to let the crucified Christ gaze upon us, to let ourselves be forgiven, and recreated by his love.
Pope Francis – from homily on St Francis
* * *
St Thérèse de Lisieux • 1 October
‘When one loves, one does not calculate.’
‘God would never inspire me with desires which cannot be realized; so in spite of my littleness, I can hope to be a saint.’
‘A word or a smile is often enough to put fresh life in a despondent soul.’
‘When something painful or disagreeable happens to me, instead of a melancholy look, I answer by a smile. At first I did not always succeed, but now it has become a habit which I am glad to have acquired.’
‘If I did not simply live from one moment to another, it would be impossible for me to be patient, but I only look at the present, I forget the past, and I take good care not to forestall the future.’
Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of St. Thérèse of Lisieux
* * *
Prayer of Cardinal Newman • 9 October
May the Lord support us all the day long,
Till the shades lengthen and the evening comes,
and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over,
and our work is done.
Then in his mercy may he give us a safe lodging,
and holy rest, and peace at the last.
* * *
Prayer for Peace Pope St John XXIII • 11 October
Lord Jesus Christ,
who are called the Prince of Peace,
who are yourself our peace and reconciliation,
who so often said, ‘Peace to you,’
grant us peace.
Make all men and women witnesses of
truth, justice, and brotherly love.
Banish from their hearts whatever might endanger peace.
Enlighten our rulers that they may guarantee
and defend the great gift of peace.
May all peoples of the earth becomes as brothers and sisters.
May longed-for peace blossom forth
and reign always over us all.
* * *