Praying with the pope in October

POST BY DStewart

Credit David Siglin via Unsplash

The mission of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network is to encourage all of us to make of ourselves a daily offering to the Lord by means of a simple and easy prayer pathway. For many years we have had this tradition. It comprises the morning offering, available in a variety of formats, a daily prayerful review, keeping in mind the intention that the pope gives to us each month, so that we can unite our prayer to the concerns that are in his heart. His is a global call to transform our prayer into “concrete gestures” of service, a monthly “action plan” mobilising us to work together to build a more human and caring world. All of this is offered to the Heart of Christ, which is still a heart of compassion for all of creation, for all of humanity.

You don’t need to apply to join the Pope’s Prayer Network – there’s nothing to pay, no forms to sign! All that it takes to be part of it is to commit yourself to the daily prayer pathway with its morning offering and to pray for the pope’s intention. We have made it easy for you, with a range of online and written resources – see below for further details.

In this month of October, Pope Francis has asked us to pray with him: That all workers may receive respect and protection of their rights, and that the unemployed may receive the opportunity to contribute to the common good.

You might recognise how this intention echoes key concerns of our Catholic Social Teaching, first promoted over a century ago but, or course, present in the gospels in the teaching and practice of Jesus himself. The rights of workers concerned Pope Pius in 1891, in famous ground-breaking document called Rerum Novarum, (“Of new things”) while the idea of the Common Good, a key principle of Catholic Christian thinking, has once again become known recently. As we look at our world, we can see just how much the concept of the Common Good, embracing the promotion of human dignity, is needed.

Pope Francis explained in a 2014 address to workers at an Italian steel-mill, that the
“primary value of work is the good of the human person since it fulfils him as such, with his inner talents and his intellectual, creative and physical abilities. Hence the scope of work is not only profit and economics; its purpose above all regards man and his dignity. Man’s dignity is tied to work”.

The serious problem of unemployment, particularly among Europe’s young, arises when the system is geared too much to profit and not enough to human dignity; profit can’t be the only value. When any human person is denied the fulfilling dignity of work, they are excluded and the Common Good is not achieved. Solidarity, another key principle of our social teaching, is threatened. Pope Francis has said that the word “solidarity” risks vanishing from the dictionary!
Some people, including prominent politicians , sometimes suggest that the Church has no business getting involved in politics and economics, or that our involvement should be selective – some issues but not others. There are others who suggest that certain key issues should be the only ones that should concern Catholic Christians, thus ignoring not only our Social Teaching tradition of solidarity and compassion when it suits them but also the very words and practice of Jesus himself. Such a temptation will have its appeal to many of us. One way of opposing that temptation is to make ourselves aware, each month, of the pope’s intention concerning the challenges that face humanity and by making a daily offering of ourselves, united to his intention and to the Heart of Christ, that the wold might become more just, more good and more sacred.

Prayer moment: Ask God’s Spirit to lead you to a place of interior calm and silence within yourself, and of external quiet too away from some of the noise of everyday life. Let God’s gaze upon you and on the world become a reality for you, now. Place yourself, in your imagination, among the unemployed people of Europe or elsewhere in our world, particularly the younger generations. Ask the Spirit to unveil for you just how their human, God-given dignity is destroyed by unemployment, which throws them on the scrapheap in the name of profit. Ask for the grace of compassion and even of righteous anger for this sin, to guard against ignoring it.

Reflection moment: ponder if I’ve ever been in a situation where workers’ rights, and the right to work, have been damaged or destroyed. Was I the one to suffer or was it someone I know, perhaps a family member? What action could I have taken or might I take in the future? I could reflect on whether I feel powerless and unable to act, or whether there might be ways in which I could stand up against this sin, for example, by refusing to deal with big companies who remove people’s dignity; and by letting these companies know that I’m no longer buying their products in protest.

Ways of Praying with the Pope:

2018 Pope's prayer calendarThere is a range of helps for your prayer. From the beginning of October you can order our Living Prayer 2018 booklets and our 2018 wall-calendars. Each has lovely pictures of churches around the world dedicated to the Heart of Christ, the Sacred Heart, and details of liturgical feasts and the pope’s intentions. Online we’ve got lots of good material on our website  and there’s our new daily prayer App on You can use this App to pray, each day, on your smart-phone or tablet. Several different prayer-cards, including our popular Daily Prayer Pathway, are available free of charge (but with a small donation, if possible, towards P&P) by leaving a message on 020 8442 5232 or 074 3259 1117.