Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Today, Two Prayers

Yesterday, many Christians remembered with contrition the decision reached in the case of Roe v. Wade. Our country has perpetrated a great evil in the last 34 years. And we, like Daniel, are in some sense complicit in the sin of our country. We pray for the mercy of God.

It is imperative that we continue to work for a right respect for life - from conception to natural death. It is imperative that we continue to pray about this issue and the lives being wounded and destroyed by it. It is imperative that we love and pray for those who commit or encourage this evil. Many act in ignorance. But regardless of their understanding of what they do, we must love and pray for them.

Our consciences can be poor guides if they are not formed rightly. For those of us who are Catholic, that means conforming our lives to the teaching of the Church on these moral issues. We do not have the authority to make contrary decisions, any more than, after receiving the Decalogue, the Israelites had the choice whether to commit adultery or covet their neighbors' possessions or murder. That is not to say we are not free to choose otherwise. But it remains sin and breaks our relationship with Christ and His body, the Church.

And, remember, for all of us who sin - the Church longs for us to turn to Christ in repentance. We are all in need of the mercy of God. And, thanks be to God, God cleanses us from all our sin and provides for us pardon and peace.

Build us together in Christ,
Make us your dwelling place.

This week is a time set aside by the Catholic Church to specifically pray for Christian unity.

Unity is an issue that weighs heavily on my heart. Not that I am discouraged by the prospect of Christian unity, but rather that it is painful to live in the division between brothers and sisters. (And I offer up that pain as an oblation to God.) We are one body. Indeed, we are Christ's body. We are Christ.

Is Christ divided?

+ God, through your coming to us in Jesus and through using fallible people, you have shown yourself to be a vulnerable God; we thank you that you still trust us to offer service and work for the building of your kingdom. Keep us alert to your will and purpose and open our eyes that we may see the true needs of people around us. Enable us in humility to learn from one another, that we may be united in our mutual accountability and devoted in service for your kingdom; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

from the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, 2005

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