Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Intentions of Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, for November 2008

General Prayer Intention:
"That the testimony of love offered by the saints may fortify Christians in their devotion to God and their neighbor, imitating Christ who came to serve and not to be served."
Missionary Prayer Intention:
"That the Christian communities of Asia, contemplating the face of Christ, may know how to find the most suitable ways to announce Him, in full faithfulness to the Gospel, to the people of that vast continent so rich in culture and ancient forms of spirituality."


November 2008

The Apostleship of Prayer receives monthly prayer intentions from Pope Benedict XVI and urges Christians throughout the world to unite in prayer for those intentions. The reflections below seek to illuminate the Holy Father's concerns.

General Intention:

Love of God and Neighbor. That the testimony of love offered by the saints may fortify Christians in their devotion to God and neighbor, imitating Christ who came to serve and not to be served.

This month Pope Benedict XVI points us to the saints of the Church, that all Christians may imitate them in their imitation of Christ. For this is the love of God and neighbor, to serve and not to be served.

Scripture is very clear on this: "Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us" (1 John 4: 11-12).

We pray that all Christians may be fortified in love that serves others, because any love that does not serve others isn't really love at all. The saints have shown us that there are thousands of ways to serve others, but it's the serving of others that is essential. As we faithfully serve others, we are living out the love of God, even in those times we don't feel the love.

The Feast of All Saints on November 1 puts us in mind of one we claim as our own, Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. A member of the Apostleship of Prayer, Frassati was devoted to both prayer and action. He used to say, "Charity is not enough; we need social reform." He also said, "We need constant prayer to obtain from God that grace without which all our prayers are useless; organization and discipline to be ready for action at the right time; and finally, the sacrifice of our passion and of ourselves, because without that we cannot achieve our aim."

Blessed Frassati died in 1925 of polio. Many of the sick people he helped came to his funeral. May all Christians be inspired to a love that expresses itself in prayer and service.

In what ways has your love for God led you to serve others? Thank God for the privilege of extending his love.

James 2:26 - Just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

Mission Intention:

Church in Asia. That the Christian communities of Asia, contemplating the face of Christ, may find the most suitable ways to announce Him, in full faithfulness to the Gospel.

Last December Pope Benedict XVI addressed a group of Korean prelates, exclaiming: "The Church in your countries has made remarkable progress since the arrival of missionaries in the region over four hundred years ago, and their return to Mongolia just fifteen years ago."

The Holy Father attributed this growth to the "outstanding witness of the Korean Martyrs and others throughout Asia who remained steadfastly faithful to Christ and his Church."

This month he asks us to pray for the many and diverse Christian communities throughout Asia. These communities include the Philippines, Asia's most populous Catholic country; India, where Catholicism goes back to St. Thomas the Apostle; South Korea and Vietnam, where Catholics make up a surprisingly large percentage of the population; China where there are new hopes that persecution is slowly easing; Indonesia, where there are conflicts with Muslims; India, where there are conflicts with Hindus; the Middle East, where many conflicts continue; and Iraq, from which Christians are fleeing.

After visiting Asia, Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe reported on Vatican Radio that the Christian minority there often lives the faith "with great enthusiasm," comparing themselves to the first Christians who set out to evangelize the world.

We are praying this month that Asian Christians may find the most suitable ways to announce Christ. We in the West must respect the ancient cultures of the East and let the Church in Asia find the best ways to spread the Gospel. After all, Christianity is a religion that transcends, rather than imposes, culture. Cultures are transformed and elevated by Christ living among the people, for the Church is his Body.

May the Holy Spirit guide those who preach and teach the faith in Asia. May this be, as Popes John Paul II and Benedict have said, the millennium for the evangelization of the East.

People come to know Jesus Christ in a tremendous variety of ways. How did you come to Christ? Who helped?

Acts 20: 17-24 - I consider this life of no importance to me, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to bear witness to the gospel of God's grace.

Prayer of the Month

Father, all-powerful and ever-living God, we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks. You are glorified in your saints, for their glory is the crowning of your gifts. In their lives on earth, you give us an example. In our communion with them, you give us their friendship. In their prayer for the Church you give us strength and protection. This great company of witnesses spurs us on to victory, to share their prize of everlasting glory. May we imitate their lives of service and daily give you all honor and glory. Amen.

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