An Aparecida Prayer for the New Year

The Aparecida Conference began, on May 13, 2007, with an address by Pope Benedict XVI.  The Aparecida Document concludes by quoting extensively from that beautiful address.

The words below come from that quotation: they are words from both Pope Benedict and Aparecida, and thus the future Pope Francis.

I simply point out the Christocentrism: “stay with us, Lord.”  In this New Year, let us recall our deep need for the presence of Jesus in our lives.

Note that it first speaks of Jesus “enlightening our minds” through his word: our meditation on Scripture is a central way Jesus “stays with us.” And this “helps us to experience the beauty of believing” in him.

But then it speaks of how we need his presence: in our families, in our homes, and especially among the most vulnerable and the young.  Stay with us, Lord!

 

POPEStay with us, Lord, keep us company, even though we have not always recognized you. Stay with us, because all around us the shadows are deepening, and you are the Light; discouragement is eating its way into our hearts: make them burn with the certainty of Easter. We are tired of the journey, but you comfort us in the breaking of bread, so that we are able to proclaim to our brothers and sisters that you have truly risen and have entrusted us with the mission of being witnesses of your resurrection.

 

Stay with us, Lord, when mists of doubt, weariness or difficulty rise up around our Catholic faith; you are Truth itself, you are the one who reveals the Father to us: enlighten our minds with your word, and help us to experience the beauty of believing in you.

 

Remain in our families, enlighten them in their doubts, sustain them in their difficulties, console them in their sufferings and in their daily labors, when around them shadows build up which threaten their unity and their natural identity. You are Life itself: remain in our homes, so that they may continue to be nests where human life is generously born, where life is welcomed, loved and respected from conception to natural death.

 

Remain, Lord, with those in our societies who are most vulnerable; remain with the poor and the lowly, with indigenous peoples and Afro-Americans, who have not always found space and support to express the richness of their culture and the wisdom of their identity.

 

Remain, Lord, with our children and with our young people, who are the hope and the treasure of our Continent, protect them from so many snares that attack their innocence and their legitimate hopes. O Good Shepherd, remain with our elderly and with our sick. Strengthen them all in faith, so that they may be your disciples and missionaries!

 

-Conclusion of Aparecida Document, quoting Benedict XVI, “Inaugural Address of the Fifth Conference, Aparecida”

eric.m.johnston

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