More and more frequently, there is one prayer at Mass that comes from the depth ofmy heart. It follows the Our Father, and the two lines which stir me deeply are these: 1) “Graciously grant peace in our days”, and 2) [may we be] safe from all distress.” I want to pause for the longest time at those two sentences but I know if I do, the folks will get restless. Most don’t handle silence well.
Aren’t these your wishes for Christmas and the New Year? We live in a world that is torn apart by war and violence, in which innocent people become the victims of ideologies that care nothing for the beauty of life. Violence of thought and word pervades national capitals, including our own. Even our Church is not immune… lately there has arisen a cabal of people who are questioning whether Pope Francis is a legitimate Pope. What kind of a world, what kind of a country, what kind of Church are we leaving for our little ones? Is fierce devotion to a set of ideas (i.e., ideology) more important than the common good? More important than peaceful living with each other? More important than helping each other become who God wants us to be? After all, Jesus did come so that all may be one.
In asking for safety from distress, we are asking for safety from natural disaster, human sinfulness, accidents at home, at work, while travelling, etc. The natural inclination is to pray for myself and those close to me. But notice that the prayer uses the plural…”may we be safe.” Extend that prayer to all your brothers and sisters, for they are just as deserving of freedom from distress as you and I are. This can be your ministry to the world. Believing in the power of prayer as I do, I know that someone in the world will be freed from distress in that very moment of your prayer.
May your Christmas be lovely and loving, and your New Year blessed with goodness!