Praying with the pope: poor of Latin America
For July 2015, the Holy Father’s Evangelisation Intention draws our attention to the poor in his native Latin America. Coming to us in the month in which he made his first return to his own continent since his election, it’s timely that he asks us to pray thus: “That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society”. Here in our own supposedly prosperous country, increasing poverty, particularly among children, means that this month’s intention must apply to us, too.
July’s evangelisation intention is not a request that we pray for the poor. Too many of us do that, and only that, hoping that this will be sufficient to discharge our responsibility as followers of Christ. But that Risen Christ, who, as we learn in the Spiritual Exercises, still labours in the world as He laboured on the way of the Cross, wants and expects more from us. Latin America has one of the world’s largest gaps between rich and poor, according to UN figures. Pope Francis, speaking only a few weeks ago in Bolivia, demanded that this change. If our prayer does not help us to think about change, especially for the poorest and weakest, it risks being empty, sterile, mere words.
We must love the poor and our following of Christ must bear witness to that love. We must recognise that we live “amid social inequalities” both in Latin America and here. We need to contribute to that “more fraternal society”.
Our daily prayer, starting with our Apostleship of Prayer Morning Offering, unites us with the Eucharist, Christ’s own complete demonstration of self-emptying love. As the Trinity gazes on the world with all its inequality and suffering, we ask to be part of that love, bringing it to all.
For your own or your group’s reflection: be still, and ask the Holy Spirit to bring you to an interior place of prayer. Think about poverty and social inequalities that you have witnessed and maybe are witnessing now. Are you suffering from such inequality? Or can you think of a person or group of people, a refugee family perhaps, who are experiencing such oppression? How does it feel to be in that position; what are your prayers and your hopes? Who has come to your help? Why, insofar as you can tell, is there such inequality and how, witnessing this, does it make you feel? And, what would it take for you to contribute to greater fraternal solidarity? What is there that God might want to give you to help you in this task? What would you want to happen, as you pay attention to whatever desires you notice coming from the best part of yourself?
Present whatever desires arise in you to God in your prayer.
Scriptural moment: 2 Corinthians 8: 1-15 Our own blessings should be enough for all.