Praying with the pope in July

POST BY DStewart

Quechua Woman, Peru
Quechua Woman, Peru

Most of us would never dream of leaving the house without checking (sometimes, for some of us, five or six times!) if we’ve got certain items with us. Keys – check. Rosaries in the pocket, and maybe a small prayer-card or prayer-book – check. Transport card or money for fares – check. Wallet and credit-cards – check. Outer jacket or rainwear, especially in a British summer – check. Wristwatch – check.  And something that almost everyone has to have on their person – their mobile phone. We know why we need all these items, don’t we? We would need the Rosary to remind us to say a prayer during the day. And now we might need our phone for that too. Whoever heard of using a mobile to pray? More and more people are doing just that, by downloading the App of the Pope’s Global Prayer Network, called Click To Pray, which is also the name of the website from which they got the download.

On Click To Pray, you’ll find what concerns are on the Pope’s heart for the month, his prayer intention for the challenges that face humanity and the Church’s evangelising mission. This month of July his Universal Intention is for Indigenous Peoples: “that indigenous peoples, whose identity and very existence are threatened, will be shown due respect”. Also, Pope Francis asks us to join him in praying for his Evangelising Intention, concerning his own native Latin America and the Caribbean: “that the Church in Latin America and the Caribbean, by means of her mission to the continent, may announce the Gospel with renewed vigour and enthusiasm”.

Now, we can log on to the new App (or directly on the website) to remind ourselves of these intentions at any time. This is the App that connects your prayer and the real world. We can simply click a button on the App to add ourselves to the growing number of people around the world who are answering the Holy Father’s call to join him in praying for these intentions. They are, of course, a global call to transform our prayers into “concrete gestures” of service. They are a monthly action plan mobilising us to work together to build a more humane and caring world. 

On Click To Pray, you will find three prayers, for morning, noon and evening, that together form what we call “My Daily Prayer Pathway”. Each of these prayers changes daily and, again, you can click the button to add yourself to the worldwide number of apostles of prayer doing exactly the same. The Morning Prayer is basically  the traditional Daily Offering, united to the Pope’s Intentions, consecrating our day to the Heart of Christ. The midday prayer is a very short reminder of that offering and of God’s glad response to it. Then, in the evening, we get a suggestion about how to review our day to highlight the graces received through our morning offering and, if necessary, beg forgiveness for any opportunities to serve that we might have missed. Many people, of course, have been doing this for many years and the daily Prayer Pathway is nothing new. What is new is the method, using our phones, or laptops, or tablets to join so many others so that, together, we can make each day different – and better.

The Holy Father’s Universal Intention draws our attention to a less well-publicised reality about our world today for there are still many indigenous peoples who receive, at best, scant respect from the Global North. This is so frequently connected with the plundering exploitation of their ancient lands for materials that we in the Global North need to sustain our lifestyles – not least material that goes into the manufacture of our mobile phones! All too seldom do most of us think of the consequences for those indigenous peoples of our despoliation of their lands and cultures. In some places, aggressive planting of palm-tree forests, which soak up vast amounts of often precious water, feeds our desire for ever more varieties of shampoo and shower-gel. In other places, unscrupulous mining for various minerals and fuels causes untold misery for the indigenous people of the area; all too seldom do the fruits of such depredation benefit local people. In other places again, such as some of the Native American Reservations of the United States, where life expectancy can still be frighteningly low compared to the national average, such suffering and lack of respect has been the norm for decades if not centuries. Some Reservations are desperately sad places, where alcoholism and disease are commonplace. The Universal Intention for this month invites us to join Pope Francis in pondering these scenes prayerfully and, and St.Ignatius would always say, showing our love in actions, not just in mere words.

Prayer Moment: Let the Spirit of God lead you to a place of interior stillness and allow yourself to become aware of God’s gaze on you, full of love and desiring that you become the best possible version of yourself. Become aware also of the Trinity’s gaze on the indigenous peoples of the world today, some suffering, some dying of disease, some exploited by other human beings. Ponder what comes into your own heart, from the heart of Christ. What action might I be called to in the light of what the Trinity sees? What good desire does God place in my heart?

Refection Moment: am I aware of any ways in which I might be complicit in the lack of respect shown to indigenous peoples? For example, do I use products that, directly or indirectly, contribute to their suffering? Might I consider doing some research into what alternative, more just purchasing might be possible for me? What resolution might I want to make now?

Scriptural Moment: Micah 6:8, of course … “this is what Yahweh asks of you this only …”; Deuteronomy 31:32, Joshua receives his vocation to lead the people into the Promised Land; Exodus 6:8, “I will lead you to the Land … I will give it to you as a possession …”; Matthew 18:6, Jesus warning against hurting the vulnerable.

Click-to-Pray: Look for the Intentions for this month and the suggested resolutions on the App or website. Think about them and, if and when you’re ready, click to add your own prayerful support.