On 27 March 2020 at St Peter’s Basilica in Rome Pope Francis conducted an hour of prayer broadcast around the world to pray for God’s help in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the world. He based his homily on that occasion on the Gospel passage of Christ calming the storm on the Sea of Galilee when the apostles begged him for help. In this meditation we use Pope Francis’ homily to consider how:
We should trust more in God in all our problems
Christ is always with us and he truly cares for us even when we may wonder where he is
We can use the present crisis to examine our priorities and to choose what is of lasting value
We should draw closer to God through an increased life of prayer
In our difficulties Christ is sharing his Cross with us
We should reach out more to others to help them in these special times
Our Lord fasted and prayed for forty days before beginning his public life of preaching the Gospel. In Lent we accompany him in prayer, fasting and almsgiving to prepare for the great feast of Easter. In this meditation we consider how:
Inspired by Christ’s example, our prayer and fasting will help us overcome the many temptations we face in life.
When we live Lent well, we grow in self-mastery and experience the joy of the resurrection every day.
Lent spurs us on to new growth in the spiritual life and prepares us for our final meeting with Our Lord.
Texts of Pope Francis and St Peter Chrysologus show us the importance and unity of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
There are many practical ways of living each of these aspects of Lent.
Jesus warned his followers on one occasion that they would be hated and persecuted for the sake of his name. Today this is happening on a grand scale, in part because the Catholic Church is the largest single religion in the world and in part because the Church stands firmly for what the world is against: the sanctity of life and of marriage, the importance of chastity, the rights of parents in the education of their children… In this meditation we use Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et exsultate to consider how:
The Church is being attacked for its stand on many issues
The world needs what the Church teaches in order to find the happiness and peace it desires
We must learn what the Church teaches and defend this teaching with charity and strength
We must seek holiness, “the most attractive face of the Church” in order to show the world the beauty of our faith and to avoid being swept along by the current of the world
Jesus told the apostles in the Last Supper that they had not chosen him, but that he had chosen them for a particular mission: to go out and bear fruit. God has created each individual for a purpose: to fulfil some definite part of his plan for the salvation of all souls. In this meditation we use texts of Scripture. St John Henry Newman, Pope Francis and St Josemaria to see how:
God has a particular plan for each of us, which only we can fulfil
To fulfil this plan we must first seek holiness, love for God which consists in doing his will
If we think ourselves unworthy and incapable, so were the apostles
Many great things depend on whether we fulfil the mission God has planned for us
In the words of St John Paul II “The history of mankind, the history of salvation, passes by way of the family”. Yet the family today is under attack in many ways. If it is to fulfil its mission, the family can turn to the Holy Family of Nazareth for inspiration and strength. In this meditation we use texts from St John Paul II, Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Pope Francis to consider:
The beauty of the Holy Family, model of all families
The attack on the family in today’s world
The vital importance of the family for the wellbeing of the spouses, the children and society
Some ways the family can model itself on the Holy Family and thus fulfil its mission more effectively.
The Church has been under fierce attack in recent months with news of widespread sexual abuse by clergy and cover ups by the hierarchy, leading many people to become discouraged and critical of the Church. In this meditation we look at the situation with eyes of faith, considering how:
In the history of the Church there have been many crises, some of them much worse than the present one.
Anyone who wants to achieve an important goal has a plan of daily activities to reach it: the athlete, the student, the business person. Our goal is the most important of all: eternal salvation, heaven. Our happiness here and hereafter depends on it. In this meditation we consider how:
We are called to love God with our whole heart and in order to achieve that we must spend some time with him each day
We are called to eternal life with God in heaven, the goal of our whole life
Like the student, the athlete, the business person, we need a daily plan of activities to achieve our goal
We can dedicate some time each day to such activities as mental prayer, Holy Mass, the Rosary, spiritual reading, reading of the New Testament, the Angelus, morning prayers, the examination of conscience, etc.
We can achieve this by having regular times for prayer spread out throughout the day
Pope Francis has given the Church the Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate (“Rejoice and be glad”) on the call to holiness in today’s world. Today’s world is very much in need of holiness as it distances itself ever more from God, and the Pope proposes a way of holiness for everyone, for the “middle class”. In this meditation we use this document to consider how:
We are all called to holiness since God has loved each one of us and we should love him in return.
The Gospels relate the joy of the disciples and the holy women when they saw Our Lord after his Resurrection. That joy can be ours too when we discover Our Lord in the ordinary circumstances of our life and we come to love him. In this meditation we use passages from the Scriptures, from Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation “Rejoice and be glad” and from St Josemaria Escriva to discover how to find the joy we all seek. We consider how:
Christ wants everyone to be happy
We will be happy when we find Christ and come to love him
We can be joyful even in the midst of sickness, worries and misfortunes
Cheerfulness is attractive and draws others to God