REFLECTIONS extracts from Daily Thoughts February 2020

Feb 4, 2020

February 7. The Joy of Music. Beauty sent a youtube link to each one in the group and  asked them to watch and listen so that they could share their responses with one another. “I have always loved St Francis and this presentation of his Canticle to

Creation brought tears to my eyes,” Audrey said.  “I like the gentle, reflective background music behind the words and the beautiful images,” Paul added.  “Isn’t art, music and beauty a gift of God to us, to reflect on his creation?  David certainly understood that, even 3000 years ago.”

As the fat is selected from the peace offering, so David was selected from the sons of Israel.  He played with lions as with young goats and with bears as with lambs. Did he not kill a giant and take away reproach from the people?   He sang praise with all his heart and he loved his Maker.  He placed singers before the altar to make sweet melody with their voices. He gave beauty to the feasts.  The Lord took away his sons and exalted his power for ever.  Sirach 47:2-11.  Pope Francis:   When we can see God reflected in all that exists, our hearts are moved to praise the lord for all his creatures and to worship him in union with them.  This sentiment is expressed magnificently in the hymn of St Francis of Assisi,  ‘praise be you, my Lord, with all your creatures, especially Brother Sun, who is the day and through whom you give us light……   continue LS87.  Watch the video “The Canticle of Creation” from Salt and Light TV. Or google the text and other musical versions

February 8.  St Josephine Bakhita, patron of the fight against human trafficking.  By definition slavery is about lack of freedom and very often abusive treatment such as Josephine experienced as a child before she was bought by a caring family and taken to their home. Slavery has existed in many forms throughout the centuries. It was formally abolished internationally in the 19th century but today reports claim there are more than 40 million people across the globe living in conditions of slavery. In South Africa the 2016 Global Slavery index showed ¼ million people in conditions of modern slavery.  But lack of freedom is not only a crime against the human family, animals suffer too. Holding wild animals captive in atrocious conditions and poaching and killing is a form of slavery too. So often it is reported that adult rhinos are killed for their horns leaving baby rhinos defenceless.

Prayer against human trafficking:  At this time in our history, when migration is increasing, we confirm our faith in the God of life, telling Him our concerns through prayer:  “When we hear about boys, girls, men and women being deceived and taken to unknown places for sexual exploitation, forced labour and organ trade, our hearts feel indignation and our spirits suffer, because their dignity and rights are violated by threats, deceit and violence. Oh God, help us fight against all forms of slavery. Together with Saint Bakhita we ask you to put an end to human trafficking. Give us the wisdom and strength to be close to those who have been wounded in their body, heart and spirit, so that together we may reach the promise of life and tender and infinite love that you offer to our exploited brothers and sisters. Touch the hearts of those responsible for this serious crime and support our commitment to freedom, your gift for all your sons and daughters.   https://sma.ie/st-josephine-bakhita-from-slave-to-saint/        Pope Francis:  A sense of communion with the rest of nature cannot be real if our hearts lack tenderness, compassion and concern for our fellow human beings.   It is inconsistent to combat trafficking in endangered animal and plant species while remaining completely indifferent to human trafficking, unconcerned about the poor or undertaking to destroy another human being seen as unwanted.  LS91

February 9.   Sunday 5AWORLD MARRIAGE DAY.  Mark and Joan shared, “One of the best things for us about our Marriage Ministry is the relationships we have developed with our fellow couples and the priests we have worked with very closely supporting one another.  Marriage is our sacrament, but the priests are our partners, co-ministers, called to serve us, the people of God in a special way.  We laughed when we were sharing our stories in a group.  “Which of us is the salt, and which the light and in what way are we being this” Today is World Marriage Day.  The theme for the day used every year is, “Love one another as I have loved you.” John 15.2.  it is a commandment and speaks to us in a simple but challenging way of how God, Our Father sees us and wants us to live:  Our Father’s Call to a Couple. Your being in love is my way to attract you to love. I say to you, you are wonderful, you are good. I want you to enjoy together the fullness of life, for which I sent My Son. Your closeness, your oneness, is the human experience nearest to how I live and love. Wherever you are, whatever you do in loving union brings Jesus in His Body, the Church, alive to all whom you touch. I call you to love each other in His name. (Written by Fr Chuck Gallagher for couples preparing for marriage.  Google for the complete prayer.)  read more and download celebration resources   http://www.wwme.org/wpd-wmd

Jesus said to his disciples, “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored?  It is no longer good.   You are the light of the world, A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.    Matthew 5:13-16

A World Marriage Day Prayer  Father, as we celebrate today we thank you for your tremendous gift of the Sacrament of Marriage. Help us to witness to its glory by a life of growing intimacy. Teach us the beauty of forgiveness so we may become more and more One in Heart, Mind and Body. Strengthen our communication and help us become living signs of your love. Make us grow more in love with the Church so we may renew the Body of Christ. Make us a sign of unity in the name of Jesus, our Lord and Brother. Amen.

February 11. Day of Prayer for the Sick. Fr Jeremiah was well aware of the search for healing of many of his parishioners. Some went on pilgrimages to Ngome or other shrines, some went to healing services in different churches.  On this Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes and the World Day of Prayer for the Sick he invited everyone to come together to celebrate Mass, to pray and seek inspiration  using the words of Jesus in the message for the day of Pope Francis.  “We’ve been there.  We know what it feels like.  We did feel Jesus’ loving touch when our baby was so ill. That is why we have decided to become part of the parish ministry to the sick,” Noel and  Lebo shared.

Pope Francis:   “Come to me, all you who labour and are burdened, and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28).  “They point to the mysterious path of grace that is revealed to the simple and give new strength to those who are weary and tired. These words of Christ express his solidarity with all those who are hurt and afflicted.  On this XXVIII World Day of the Sick, Jesus repeats these words to the sick, the oppressed, and the poor. For they realize that they depend entirely on God and, beneath the burden of their trials, they stand in need of his healing. Jesus does not make demands of those who endure situations of frailty, suffering and weakness, but offers his mercy and his comforting presence. He looks upon a wounded humanity with eyes that gaze into the heart of each person. That gaze is not one of indifference; rather, it embraces people in their entirety, each person in his or her health condition, discarding no one, but rather inviting everyone to share in his life and to experience his tender love. Why does Jesus have these feelings? Because he himself became frail, endured human suffering and received comfort from his Father. Indeed, only those who personally experience suffering are then able to comfort others. Message Day of Prayer for the sick 2020.

 

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