Tag Archives: prayer

Day of Prayer and Penance for Abortion


Angel Gabriel.jpgToday marks the
anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion
in the USA. It is possible according to Law to end a pregnancy throughout all
nine months. A prayerful response to this atrocity the Church has proposed to
us to observe January 22 as the Day of Prayer and Penance making
reparation for the sin the abortion, praying that true freedom would be engaged
in respecting all of human life, from conception to natural death, and that the
Law would be changed.

The rubric for prayer for the day:


In all the dioceses of the United States of America, January 22 (or January 23, when January 22 falls on a Sunday) shall be observed as a particular day of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion, and of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life. The Mass “For Peace and Justice” (no. 22 of the “Masses for Various Needs”) should be celebrated with violet vestments as an appropriate liturgical observance for this day. (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, no. 373)


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The truth of prayer needs to be lived

Who has not found themselves lost for words to express some deeply held value: not for its subtlety but for its overwhelming simplicity. It is that way with prayer … the truth of prayer to be really known must be lived. And this is what Carmel is all about …  a life of prayer in solitude.

Sister Laureen Grady, OCD

Seasons of Carmel

Praying for the dead, All Souls

My soul is deprived of peace, I have forgotten what happiness is; I tell myself my future is lost, all that I hoped for from the Lord. (Lamentations 3:17)
These words are put on our lips at the funeral liturgy. We understand these words at the depths of our being not only at the time of someone’s death, but for many, many days ahead in dealing with the loss of a loved one. Time without the decedent can seem ugly, deprived, and hopeless. The author of Lamentations has it right: life can be very bleak. This would indeed be desperate if these words were the only ones we heard and remembered.
This reading from Lamentations also says, My portion is the Lord, says my soul; therefore will I hope in him. Good is the Lord to one who waits for him, to the soul that seeks him; It is good to hope in silence for the saving help of the Lord.

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Prayer: raising one’s heart and mind to God

Moses vs Amalekites.jpgIt would be a pity to forget last Sunday’s first
reading where we read of Moses’ role as mediator of God’s saving plan.


In the
book of Exodus we were reminded that Moses had concern for the salvation of his
unbelieving countrymen, and therefore he asked that God show His compassion
towards sinful Israel (see Exodus 32-34). The raising of Moses’ hands in
prayer, while dramatic, is not a biblical example of a magical Wizard of Oz. It is, however, a posture that invites all of us to pray using our God-given body and as a group as it is more effective in
expanding our own heart for God’s grace and power.

The teaching of the Church
as it is given to us in the Catechism of the Catholic Church cites Saint John
Damascene’s definition of prayer as “…the raising of one’s mind and heart to
God or the requesting of good things from God.” The Catechism speaks of
biblical types of prayer, such as ‘the prayer of Moses [that] responds to the
living God’s initiative for the salvation of His people. It foreshadows the
prayer of intercession of the unique mediator, Christ Jesus’ (2593).

St Dominic in prayer.jpg

Do we
raise our hands in prayer? What posture of prayer do we use? Do we use our body in praying? Are you too stiff and scared in your manner of praying? 

Recall that one of
the “Nine Ways of Prayer” given to us by Saint Dominic de Guzman is the raising
of hands in prayer. The 6th and 7th Ways of Prayer are directly connected with the living of the Beatitudes and the spirituality of the Cross. Outstretched hands in the form of a cross became a familiar way of praying for Saint Dominic (and his followers) that he believed was inspired by God not only at Mass but also when he was praying for someone’s healing or being being raised from the dead.

Catholics of the Latin Church are often too reserved, perhaps even too rigid, in their posture of prayer versus what is seen in Eastern Christianity where the extension of hands in prayer is one of many postures used in the sacred Liturgy and in private. This particularly seen in praying the Lord’s Prayer and other prayers of penitence and before the reception of Holy Communion.

So, can we follow the example of Moses and Saint Dominic in speaking and listening to God? 

Lectio Divina will bring about a new spiritual springtime in the Church, Benedict recommends

On the occasion of the 40th anniversary Dei Verbum in 2005, Pope Benedict made what I think is a brilliant claim that lectio divina will be instrumental in bringing a new era in the Church. The Pope said:

In this context, I would like in particular way to recall and recommend the ancient tradition of “Lectio divina”: “the diligent reading of Sacred Scripture accompanied by prayer brings about that intimate dialogue in which the person reading hears God who is speaking, and in praying, responds to him with trusting openness of heart” (cf. Dei Verbum, 25). If it is effectively promoted, this practice will bring to the Church — I am convinced of it — a new spiritual springtime. (16 September 2005)

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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