The Friday Five: Pray Without Ceasing

This week we recognize the importance of prayer in the various seasons of life.

By: Elise Italiano, Director of Communications

Sometimes I want to say to Saint Paul, “Really? Are you serious?”

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, given thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

There’s no doubt that it was a difficult news week. It’s been hard to pray in the face of evil.  It’s been challenging to persevere in praying for a world that needs to be woken up.

Joyful, ceaseless, and thankful prayer?  Only with God’s help, and only because God promises that it will transform us.

1

#PlannedParenthood has been trending on Facebook and Twitter for 72 hours after the news broke of their involvement in the sale of fetal organs and appendages as well as the fact that they deliberately perform partial birth abortions.  The banality with which an abortionist discussed the way an unborn child is killed  – and whose body is sold for profit – is shocking.

As one writer put it today,

Much of the public discussion in editorials and social media has focused on whether she and other Planned Parenthood employees sold such organs, and in the process committed a felony. There is a legitimate and murky legal argument to be had here because of a gray area between selling organs and recouping costs….As important as the legal questions are, the moral questions are even more important.

Francis’s encyclical on ecology, Laudato Si’, also explicitly criticized abortion in this context. Here Francis laments a view which “sees everything as irrelevant unless it serves one’s own immediate interests” and “treats others as mere objects.” 

What is the prayerful response to something so grotesque?  Certainly for the conversion of those who cannot see the wrong that they do.  Certainly for the unborn whose lives are lost.  But let’s not forget the women who have had abortions, for whom the videos surely resurrected a traumatic experience. If you know of any such women in need, let them know there is help after abortion.

Beautiful girl reaches for the light in the window. Beautiful profile and light

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In other news, the 10th Circuit ruled that the Little Sisters of the Poor, whose mission it is to serve the elderly, must adhere to the HHS contraceptive mandate and “accommodation.”  Some have asked why the Sisters can’t just sign the form for a third party to provide contraceptives.

Here’s why:

…The Little Sisters conclude that the form they must sign to get a supposed exemption from the mandate implicates them in a grave sin.

That’s because their health plan is self-insured, meaning that they use an insurer as a third-party administrator and pay claims directly through a trust. When the Little Sisters join the opt-out contract, their insurer is then obligated to cover birth control for “free” that would not otherwise be provided but for the opt out.

The reality of the accommodation’s accounting fiction is also that the Little Sisters must ultimately settle the bills for the drugs that are supplied in their name. If they refuse to sign the opt out, each of their homes must pay penalties of roughly $2.5 million a year.

So, what’s the prayerful response?  We must petition the Lord for the Supreme Court to hear their case, and we must pray for a more robust respect for the free exercise of religion and freedom of conscience in our country.  As Bishop Loverde has said, our primary commitments are to God.

3

We pray for the four victims of the shooting in Chattanooga, Tennessee this week, for the repose of their souls and for the consolation of their families.  And we pray especially for an end to violence in all of its forms.  May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

4

But in the face of all of this, our shepherd reminds us that Jesus is always so very close to us.

Capture

 

Capture

 

If you would like to spend more time with Jesus in prayer, the Saint Agnes adoration chapel is in need of adorers.  I can personally testify to the power of spending one hour of my week with Him.  Please contact coordinator@stagnes-adoration.org for more information.

 

Monstrance

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Finally, during this Year of Consecrated Life, I ask that you keep the young women of our diocese in prayer.  This year — again filled to capacity —  ‪#‎ArlingtonFIAT‬ – one of the largest FIAT camps in the nation — welcomed 113 young women campers to Mount Saint Mary’s University for the 6th annual FIAT Days Camp July 12-16. The intention for the week is for all high school women, religious sisters and other staff to live in an intentional community akin to a convent or novitiate, praying and growing together.

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If this doesn’t speak to our hope in Jesus Christ, I don’t know what will.  Praise God for His light in the darkness!

In the world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.  Jn 16:33


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