Tag Archives: Pope Benedict XVI

A Prayer for September 11 – Pope Benedict

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O God of love, compassion, and healing, look on us, people of many different faiths and  traditions, who gather today at this site, the scene of incredible violence and pain.

We ask you in your goodness to give eternal light and peace to all who died here— the heroic first-responders: our fire fighters, police  officers, emergency service workers, and Port  Authority personnel, along with all the innocent  men and women who were victims of this  tragedy simply because their work or service  brought them here on September 11, 2001.

We ask you, in your compassion to bring healing to those who, because of their presence here that day,
suffer from injuries and illness. Heal, too, the pain of still-grieving families and all who lost loved ones in this tragedy. Give them strength to continue their lives with courage and hope.

We are mindful as well of those who suffered death, injury, and loss on the same day at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Our hearts are one with theirs as our prayer embraces their pain and suffering. God of peace, bring your peace to our violent world: peace in the hearts of all men and women and peace among the nations of the earth. Turn to your way of love those whose hearts and minds are consumed with hatred.

God of understanding, overwhelmed by the magnitude of this tragedy, we seek your light and guidance
as we confront such terrible events. Grant that those whose lives were spared may live so that the lives lost here may not have been lost in vain. Comfort and console us, strengthen us in hope, and give us the wisdom and courage to work tirelessly for a world where true peace and love reign among nations and in the hearts of all.

Pope Benedict XIV–Prayer at Ground Zero
New York, 20 April 2008

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The Beauty of Creation

Winter is not letting up just yet! As we are in the midst of another snowstorm it can be easy to complain about the weather. Instead, I decided to re-blog a post I had written two years ago to invite all of us to look for the beauty in God’s creation. God’s wondrous works can be seen even in the icy weather that surrounds us. Let us all take a moment today to see His glory surrounding us.

roses near running waters

“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness.  God is the friend of silence.  See how nature—trees, flowers, grass—grows in silence;  see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence…. We need silence to be able to touch souls.” ~Blessed Mother Theresa

The beauty of creation surrounds us everywhere.  In the trees, flowers, rivers, waterfalls, animals, mountains, deserts, jungles…the list goes on and on.  For me, I find that being in nature always makes me feel closer to God.  It’s hard to walk through the woods on a beautiful crisp fall day with the sun shining through the colorful leaves without thinking of the Creator.  When you look out at the sun rising over the ocean with water and sky merging in glorious colors as far as the eye can see, how can you not marvel at what our God has created?    In the midst of these gorgeous…

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Prayer for a New Pope

Dear Lord Jesus, you set your Apostle Peter as the leader of your Church here on earth so many years ago. Please send your Holy Spirit to guide the hearts and minds of the Cardinals gathered together as they choose a new successor to St. Peter’s role in your Church. Send your spirit to all Catholics as we join them in prayer. Send them the gifts of wisdom and discernment of your will as they embark on this spiritual journey of electing a new Pope. Watch over His Holiness Benedict XIV as he continues in a life a prafer and faithfulness to you.  We pray Lord God that the new Pope chosen by you through the Cardinals will lead your Church according to your will. We pray that he might inspire Catholics and people of all faiths to turn to your Son Jesus. We pray that he will inspire holiness, prayer, faith, and love in all your people. Lord hear our humble prayers as we join with the angels and saints in your praise.   Amen.

An Election by the Holy Spirit

“You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18). Since Jesus spoke these words long ago, we have maintained the tradition of placing one person to be the leader of the Church here on earth. And though other religions may have come and gone, the Church has prevailed. Now with the Pope’s announcement to resign, it seems the whole world is drawn to the news surrounding the Catholic Church. Everyone, Catholic and not, seems to be intrigued by what will happen next. Some are just interested, others seem determined to find scandal within the stories. I have read multiple articles questioning the Pope’s decision and questioning if the Church will survive. I sometimes wonder to myself why is it that the Catholic Church always seems to be under attack by someone? Every little thing seems to be turned into a massive scandal by someone and any mistake that someone makes within the Church is immediately made out to be s mistake not by that person, but by the Church itself. Perhaps the Church comes under attack because it is something worth attacking. Maybe there is something so holy and truthful about the Catholic Church that evil forces will try anything to knock it down and attempt to turn people away from it. Though the pope may step down and it is surely not the norm, the Church will remain steadfast and true.

 Last week I was asked who my choice was for the next Pope. The question took me by surprise. Sure I had seen the articles of “front-runners” for Pope, but I honestly had not considered choosing one over another. I think when we talk about the election of the new Pope, many people associate it with any other public election; mayor, governor, president, etc. Especially with the election of the President of the United States in such recent memory. The election of a new Pope is not like electing a President. In electing a President, you have people of all faiths, all creeds, putting in their choices. You have negativity and lies smearing the campaigns. A candidate campaigns and is chosen for their promise of how they will live up to the standards and expectations of the people.

 In choosing a new Pope, there is no campaigning. It is not a search for someone who will compromise to make everyone happy. It is not about appointing someone who will make the people happy. In electing a Pope, it is not up to the people. In truth, it is not even up to the Cardinals who will cast their votes. Although they may physically carry out the task of voting, they are called to allow the intercession of the Holy Spirit to guide them. It is the Holy Spirit who appoints the next Pope. The Pope is not chosen because of his ability to make everyone happy and conform to society. The Pope has the task of remaining true to the faith even when it goes against the path society wants us to take, even if it makes people unhappy. I am confident that the Holy Spirit will guide the Cardinals as they meet and pray to appoint the next successor to Peter as head of the God’s Church here on earth.

I for one am humbled by Pope Benedict’s decision and have great respect for him. I think it is wonderful that God was able to work through him and I am confident He will do the same with the next Pope, whoever that may be.

The Beauty of Creation

“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness.  God is the friend of silence.  See how nature—trees, flowers, grass—grows in silence;  see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence…. We need silence to be able to touch souls.” ~Blessed Mother Theresa

The beauty of creation surrounds us everywhere.  In the trees, flowers, rivers, waterfalls, animals, mountains, deserts, jungles…the list goes on and on.  For me, I find that being in nature always makes me feel closer to God.  It’s hard to walk through the woods on a beautiful crisp fall day with the sun shining through the colorful leaves without thinking of the Creator.  When you look out at the sun rising over the ocean with water and sky merging in glorious colors as far as the eye can see, how can you not marvel at what our God has created?    In the midst of these gorgeous landscapes, we are reminded of the wonder of our God.  We are reminded of His perfection.  The next thought I usually have is, with all of this wonderous perfection…what have we done to it?

God created everything we see.  We have all heard the creation story countless times. (Genesis 1)  God created the heavens and the earth, the light and the darkness, the sea and the sky, all things that grow, all creatures of the sea, sky and land, and man in His very own image.  He saw everything He created, and it was good.  He didn’t look at what he had created with regret or determine that only some of His creations were a success.  He looked at everything He had made and found it to be good.  In that very beginning everything was good.  Just as God had created it.  Man was given dominion over animals but was also given animals to be companions.  Everything was peaceful and glorious until sin entered the world.

Since then, we have lost sight of the beauty and perfection of nature.  Our God has created such beauty and we are the ones who choose again and again to mess it up.  The trees and mountains and the sea seem to show creation as it was intended.  Beautiful.  Silent.  We are too often surrounded by the noise of our modern-day society to notice the beauty of the earth.  Sometimes we are too concerned with our own personal needs to look upon the needs of God’s creation.  We have an obligation to care for His creation. In caring for His creation, we can better care for the people who are a part of that creation.  By taking care of the plants and animals and doing what we can to reduce pollution, these are things we can do to protect God’s creation and thus make the world a better place for everyone. Pope Benedict XVI spoke of this at the 2010 World Day of Peace when he chose the theme “If you want to cultivate peace, protect creation.”  You can read his full message here http://conservation.catholic.org/ along with several other passages speaking of creation.

Taking care of creation includes animal life as well.  I recently saw the new movie “Big Miracle” with my husband (it’s the one about the 3 Alaskan whales tarpped in the ice).  It was a wonderful movie and when we left the theater I thought, how awesome that everyone came together for these beautiful whales!  Wouldn’t it be even more awesome if we could all work together to protect every aspect of creation?  Including animals, plants, land, sea, sky, and people too! We need to do what we can to care for animals and respect them.  God created all creatures and we need to do what we can to keep them from becoming endangered or extinct, just like we need to do our part to protect the forests and rivers that God created and just like we need to protect our fellow man. 

In Psalm 148, all of creation is praising God.  If even the trees and the rivers can praise God for what He has made, how much more should we praise our Creator?  By looking at His creation we are reminded of everything we are given.  We are called to join in praise with the heavens, the angels, and all of creation!  This is such a beautiful thought.  It almost seems like a fairy tale.  All the trees and mountains andlions and elephants and even whales joining in praise with the angels and with all people, young and old.   But this doesn’t have to be a fairy tale picture.  When we are immersed in nature, at the ocean , walking in the park, climbing in the mountains, we can silently offer our prayers of praise to God with the land we are surrounded by.  We can care for the creation surrounding us, from the land to the sky to the creatures that we share this earth with.  And we can care for the people.  For our brothers and sisters in Christ.  We are all a part of creation and can all do our part to protect every aspect of creation that we are able.  And to forever praise our God.  To open up with creation like the roses open up near running water.  Open up our souls to the glory and praise of our God.