PRAYING FOR OTHERS
It’s mysterious what might happen when we pray for someone. We ask God for special favours for our family, we pray for the Pope and Bishops and depending on the customs of the state, for the Queen or the Prime Minister.
We don’t know in what way anyone or anything changes as a result of our prayers, but there is something else.
St Paul says, ‘When I pray for you, I pray with joy’ (Phil 1:3). When we pray for someone, we can allow the memory of that person to bring us joy. Pray for your grandchildren and feel the joy they bring you, or a friend or spouse.
And more: we can add thanks to our prayer for a person. As I pray for someone, I can recall how I am grateful for the person, for love and friendship, for the good they do and so on. Even in praying for someone we don’t know, we can thank God for that person. This can stretch even to praying for a person I don’t particularly like but know that he or she is a good person and does good in life.
St Paul really liked his people and he prayed for them with great affection and thanks. We can do the same and we can allow the prayer for the person to give us the energy that gratitude brings.
Let us try this – in the evening think back over some people you met during the day, be happy you met them, and pick some qualities in the people you are grateful for, even for someone you find you dislike or have been hurt by. So while sometimes the prayers we make for people don’t obviously change them, they can make a change in the person who prays and bring the gift of joy and thanks in prayer.
A VOICE FOR WOMEN
Pope’s Intention (Universal) – February 2021 – We pray for women who are victims of violence, that they may be protected by society and have their sufferings considered and heeded.
The Pope’s prayer Intention for this month is a simple but possibly inadequate prayer for a hugely complex universal problem. It is of grave concern, not only for the health and wellbeing of women but also because of the consequences of the types of violence women experience. It can damage their sense of being human and also the possibility of nurturing a loving relationship with God in whose image they are created.
Sadly many women have died or are still suffering, believing that violence is their lot in life or this is what is expected if they are to be submissive and obedient to their husbands and receive their reward in eternal life. Many female victims are trapped with no safe way out of their situation. They are voiceless or their voice is made silent, their vocal cords paralysed by fear. It is vitally important that women who experience violence have their sufferings heeded and responded to. The range of violence against women continues to grow and cyber violence is the current weapon. The perpetrators must be held accountable. The human rights to freedom of conscience and freedom of religion have made addressing issues of violence against women from a societal or legal aspect challenging. Many cultures are shaped by religious customs and practices which in turn shape societal behaviours. Relying on human rights alone is limited. Rights can conflict with each other.
The Church needs to witness to and do more in the area of preventing all types of violence against women. However, how credible can the Church be if it does not have its own ‘house’ in order? ‘Let the man among you who has no sin throw the first stone’ (Jn 8:7). The Church needs to grapple with its own understanding of what it is to be a woman and accept how its understandings have shaped its teachings and cultural practices, which have left women vulnerable to violence in the name of God or religious obligation.
Much can be learned from both the actions and attitude of Jesus. He was a man, the Son of God, who dissolved the religious and cultural norms of his day. He gave women a voice and listened to them (Jn 8: 1-11). He spoke directly to women (Mk 7: 25-30), changing cultural norms. He didn’t hold to religious judgements of women. He enabled them to accept the past and become disciples (Jn 4: 1-41). He allowed ostracised women to touch him (Jn 12: 1-8). He trusted their ability to carry the Good News forth after the Resurrection (Mt 28: 9-10). Where would the Church be today if the women of its early days, for example, Lydia (Acts 16:15), Phoebe (Rom 16:10), Prisca (1 Cor 16:19) and Nympha (Col 4:15) had stayed in the home, hidden and silent?
In active response to the Pope’s Intention, consider what would be a parish response to women who need to leave their home or job due to violence but have no financial security or are too afraid to?
How would the Catholic Church stand up to scrutiny by the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women today? If, according to Pope John II women ‘compliment men’, then the Church needs to allow women to use all their gifts, especially their voice within hierarchical Church structures, enabling them to be heeded, so that when the Church raises its voice against violence to women, it will be a truly credible voice to which the world will listen (Susan James – Holy Faith Sister, Ignatian Spirituality Project Women’s Team).
MAKE LENT MEANINGFUL
In preparing for Lent, Pope Francis quotes the prophet Amos ‘what I want is mercy, not sacrifice’, a shift of emphasis away from what I do, to what God does in me. This is a subtle move to let God work within and to transform us into more loving human beings, not out of our own effort, but from our own poverty and humility that lets God in.
Yet people may still get caught up in Lent as simply a time of self-sacrifice, a giving up of stuff through self-discipline or will power. Nothing wrong with that but just notice the emphasis on the self and what ‘I’ am doing. It seems almost to cut God out of the picture. The better question is ‘what is God asking of me at this moment, what is holding me back, how can I bloom and grow?’
The quote by Amos is inviting us to act in a merciful or loving way, which is subtly different. For example, a person may be called to go the extra mile with someone, to mend a fractured relationship, to ask forgiveness for a hurt caused, to turn away from vice, and reform their life. Not to mention the ecological crisis facing our planet, the cry of the earth.
Obviously, there is sacrifice involved here and there is always a cost in changing for the better, but the goal is not sacrifice, it’s trying to do the right thing, the loving thing and it can be hard – doing what God wants though brings its own courage, hidden strength, and grace that allows us to go beyond our normal selves.
REST IN PEACE
Our parish community extends our sympathy and prayers to the family and friends of
John Burns (Rotherwood Avenue) whose funeral committal service was conducted at Glasgow Crematorium (Maryhill) on Monday 1st February. May he rest in peace.
– May they Rest in Peace –
In the absence of Fr Celestine, Fr Joe McNulty is in residence with Fr Frank and are both happy to be contacted at any time. We continue to celebrate our daily Mass for your intentions and hold you each dearly in our hearts and daily prayer.
Many thanks to all our parishioners for your generosity towards our parish and clergy, it is most appreciated.
MANY THANKS – CARE AND COMPASSION
To everyone who continues to hand in food and clothing for those in need. We continue to make our contribution to all those who are struggling to cope on a day to day basis to anyone in need of our support. Any donations of food or clothing can be handed into the Church house.
‘You pray for the hungry, then feed them. That is how prayer works.’ – Pope Francis
PLEASE PRAY FOR THOSE WHO DIED RECENTLY
LOUISE MURRAY (Great Western Rd)
ROBERT HADDOW (Laurel St, Partick)
WILLIAM RICHARDSON (Golf Drive)
JOHN BURNS (Rotherwood Avenue)
JAMES COYLE (Rotherwood Avenue)
CAPTAIN SIR TOM MOORE
EMMA BURNS (Erskine Home, Dorchester Drive)
– May they Rest in Peace –
PLEASE PRAY FOR WHOSE ANNIVERSARIES OCCUR ABOUT NOW
MARY ANN O’CONNOR
PRAY FOR THOSE WHO ARE SICK
We pray for all our sick – parishioners, family, benefactors, and friends, and all who care for them on our behalf.
EDDA BROCCARDI (Birthday)