Fr David Stewart SJ

TASTE GOD’S INFINITE MERCYIt’s already a full year since Pope Francis prayed for the whole world in that haunting and poignant televised service in a rainy, dark St.Peter’s Square. For many of us watching, whether we were people of explicit faith or not, the simple liturgy revealed a palpable depth; his spoken words were matched by the intensity of the visual symbol. It went deep. It is the same profundity that the Pope invites us to find, in his intention for this month, in the Sacrament of...
With the arrival of February and the approach of Ash Wednesday and Lent, Pope Francis has once again asked us to pray with him about a matter of grave concern in our contemporary world. Anxious about the pandemic, and rightly concerned about the just sharing of the new life-saving vaccines with the world’s poorest, we might forget this continuing epidemic, of violence against women, to which there has so far been no effective inoculation.Now the Pope asks us to become, no less, the...
FEBRUARY – REPENT OF VIOLENCE TO WOMEN, SAYS POPEFebruary brings us Ash Wednesday and begins our Lenten repentance and renewal. It brings us a new Intention from Pope Francis, a prayer from his own heart that he’d like us to take into our hearts and our own prayer. The Pope encourages us to consider, prayerfully, gender-based violence and, since faith is the daily living-out of prayer, to find ways of supporting and advocating for women who are being harmed. The Intention this month invites us...
BEGIN THE YEAR with a PRAYER FOR FULL FELLOWSHIPA greater sense of human solidarity has grown among us, as we ended a dreadful year, yet it wasn’t universal. The longed-for advent of viable vaccines was accompanied by rich nations buying up huge stocks, leaving Majority World nations struggling. Some people appeared to relegate the common good to second place if their own comfort was affected by COVID mitigations. Pope Francis has chosen to highlight human fraternity for the first intention of...
24th December: a moment of prayer for Christmas Eve.  Opening Prayer: taken from Evening Prayer (Vespers) of the ChurchFill us with confidence, Lord God,when your Only-Begotten Son comes as our judge.We welcome him with joy as our redeemer:year by year renew that joy,as we await the fulfilment of our redemptionby Jesus Christ our Lord, your Son,who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,(one) God, for ever and ever. Amen.  Scripture: the Benedictus (...
23 December: begin, as you have done on each day.Turn to the “O” Antiphon for today -- O Emmanuel (O God-With-Us)O Emmanuel, you are our king and judge, the One whom the peoples await and their Saviour. O come and save us, Lord, our God.Isaiah, the Advent prophet, could see that God’s coming into human history would be specific and would have a name which means God is with us. Jesus is the word made flesh, God in the midst of the people. That is where God wants to be.Who is this God-with-us? St...
22 December: begin, as you have done on each day. Turn to the “O” Antiphon for today --   O Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations)O King whom all the peoples desire, you are the cornerstone which makes all one. O come and save us, whom you made from clay. Spend a few moments, if you can, reflecting on this Antiphon, asking for the grace to remember that we are clay, we are dust, fashioned into being by God’s creative act of love. The “King of the Nations” acts in this way, as...
21 December: Memorial of St.Peter Canisius SJ (1521 – 1597), who was born in the Netherlands, ministered in Germany and died in Switzerland. Pope Paul III missioned him to defend Catholic teaching in the German-speaking lands. He is remembered for his unfailing courtesy towards those who disagreed with him & his powerful preaching.__________Begin, as you have done on each day. Turn to the “O” Antiphon for today -- “O Oriens (O Dayspring)”O Radiant Dawn, splendour of eternal light, sun...
20 December: the Fourth Sunday of Adventbegin, as you did on the first three days. Turn to the “O” Antiphon for today -- “O Clavis David (O Key of David)”O Key of David, O royal power of Israel, controlling at your will the gate of heaven: Come, break down the prison walls of death for those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death; and lead your captive people into freedom.Reflect for a few moments, if you have time; what are the prison walls in your life or that of someone close to...
19 December:begin, as you did on the first two days.Turn to the “O” Antiphon for today -- “O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse)”.O Flower of Jesse’s stem, you have been raised up as a sign for all peoples; kings stand silent in your presence; the nations bow down in worship before you. Come, let nothing keep you from coming to our aid.The Prophet Isaiah, who could be described as the Advent Prophet, mentions this: "A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit...

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