by Fred Schaeffer, OFS
It is important to pray for family, friends and neighbors, even strangers. Intercessory prayer is asking God daily for healing, resolving problems of those we are praying for. Repetition is important. I always used to think since God knows everything, I wouldn’t have to repeat requests, but other people tell me to pray daily for the same intention, so I do. Lent is an important and opportune time to pray for others.
The Holy Father urges us to make this Lenten journey with enthusiasm, sustained by almsgiving, fasting and prayer. The Pope states, “Almsgiving sets us free from greed and helps us to regard our neighbor as a brother or sister. What I possess is never mine alone. How I would like almsgiving to become a genuine style of life for each of us! How I would like us, as Christians, to follow the example of the Apostles and see in the sharing of our possessions a tangible witness of the communion that is ours in the Church! For this reason, I echo Saint Paul’s exhortation to the Corinthians to take up a collection for the community of Jerusalem as something from which they themselves would benefit (cf. 2 Cor 8:10). This is all the more fitting during the Lenten season, when many groups take up collections to assist Churches and peoples in need. Yet I would also hope that, even in our daily encounters with those who beg for our assistance, we would see such requests as coming from God himself. When we give alms, we share in God’s providential care for each of his children. If through me God helps someone today, will he not tomorrow provide for my own needs? For no one is more generous than God.”
On Fasting, the Holy Father says, it “weakens our tendency to violence; it disarms us and becomes an important opportunity for growth. On the one hand, it allows us to experience what the destitute and the starving have to endure. On the other hand, it expresses our own spiritual hunger and thirst for life in God. Fasting wakes us up. It makes us more attentive to God and our neighbor. It revives our desire to obey God, who alone is capable of satisfying our hunger.” (Above quotations from the Pope’s 2018 Lenten Message.)
Pope Francis in another Lenten Message said, “Lent is a favorable season for opening the doors to all those in need and recognizing in them the face of Christ.” Maybe he was addressing this to a large church where there is plenty of room to draw people in; for one person we are asked to open the doors of our hearts and pray for those in whom we see the suffering face of Christ. There are many ways of giving assistance. It is not enough to just talk about it. Where there is a need, we should fill that need with action.
Prayer of St. Francis at the Cross:
O Most High and glorious God,
enlighten the darkness of my heart.
Give me right faith,
and deep humility.
O Lord, give me sense and discernment
in order to carry out your true and holy will. Amen
Secular Franciscan Order
Ordo Franciscanus Sæcularis
Divine Mercy Fraternity
Vero Beach, FL
Officers as of 1/10/2016
Fred Schaeffer, OFS
Helen Caldarone, OFS
Mary "Jean" McGovern, OFS
Jack Reddy, OFS
Donna Haro, OFS
Joanne Giordano, OFS
Fred Schaeffer, OFS