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we celebrate the entrance of St. Stephen into eternal glory.
He died praying for those who killed him.
Help us to imitate his goodness
and to love our enemies.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
We pray together these words at the conclusion of the Prayers of the Faithful at Sunday Masses, except on Gospel of Life Sundays and at the Commissioning of our new Parish Council in January, when we pray the parish Mission:
you call us to the table of your Son,
renew us by word and sacrament,
and send us to labor in your harvest.
We are a people in need of the witness
of faithful marriages and priests,
dedicated single people and deacons,
religious sisters, brothers, monks and nuns.
Help each disciple to trust in your call,
make us able and willing to do what you ask,
keep us united in our gifted diversity,
and bring to maturity every seed you sow.
Priest: We ask all this through the Good Shepherd:
Jesus Christ, your Son and our Lord.
All: Father, you call us to prepare the way for Christ our Lord,
bringing low the mountains of our pride
and filling up the valleys of our weakness.
As you created us in your own image,
open our minds and hearts
to know our longing for the Savior.
Help us to follow the example of Mary,
always ready to do your will.
As we celebrate the simple beauty
of the incarnation of your Son,
help us in freedom say “yes” to our vocation
and make us radiant with his light.
Priest: We ask this through Christ our Messiah.
All: O God of compassion, through honest awareness of sin
and the grace of repentance
you protect us from what could harm us
and lead us to what will save us.
Your Son, Jesus Christ, accepted the cross
and redeemed your sons and daughters.
Through prayer, fasting,and almsgiving
you call us each to a unique vocation
of health, healing and mercy.
May we embrace the paschal mystery
and, faithful to the gospel of Christ,
become a people who worship you
in spirit and in truth.
Priest: We ask this through Christ our Savior.
All: Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful;
set fire in us your confirming love.
Give us wisdom to seek the face of God,
understanding of our baptism in Christ,
and right judgment to discern his call in freedom.
Give us courage to say yes to our vocations,
knowledge of what Jesus teaches,
and reverence for the ways of the Father.
Give us wonder and awe in your presence,
that the witness we give
to the resurrection of the Son
may be pleasing to the Father
and help you, Holy Spirit,
renew the face of the earth.
Priest: We ask all this through Christ our Lord.
On six Gospel of Life Sundays, our Gospel of Life Team helps us to focus on different questions which call for attention in our time in history, because we who seek to hear and live the good news of Jesus are called to be people of life. On these Sundays, we use the the spiritual adoption prayer at the conclusion of the Prayers of the Faithful.
Living God of Israel,
Christ, Son of the living God,
Holy Spirit, Advocate,
One God with many names,
I lift up to you this year
one unborn child at risk,
one newborn needing care,
one mother afraid or confused,
one father with faltering courage,
one aging sage in poor health,
one human alive on death row,
one victim of violence or torture,
one civilian in the crossfire of war,
one keeper of peace in danger,
one man wrestling with prejudice,
one woman in need of a neighbor,
one hard worker who is still poor,
one migrant worker seeking dignity,
one teen needing encouragement,
one child having difficulty learning,
one family without good health care,
one community suffering pollution,
and one in need of your grace.
As you made each in your image,
so you call us to grow
into the likeness of the Risen Christ.
Let each day of this year
bring an advent of hope,
a new nativity of faith,
lenten solidarity of love,
the new way of easter joy,
and your abiding pentecost presence.
As you have called me by name,
and I am yours,
so do I adopt them in prayer
and beg you grant
what you know they need
to have life and to the full.
adapted from a Life-Teen prayer. Visit www.lifeteen.com
God, our Father,
your Son Jesus is the Bread of Life,
taken, blessed, broken and given away
so that all might be healed and have Life.
Take our lives.
We offer them to you with open hands.
Through the example of Jesus,
teach us to surrender fully to you.
Bless us with knowledge
that we are your beloved ones
and that we truly belong
to a community of love and mercy.
Break open our hearts
so that the seed of the Word
and the power of the Eucharist
can be planted in fertile ground,
take root, and transform us.
Give us to the world
with the power of the Holy Spirit
to witness to the love of Jesus
and serve him in each person we meet.
Let us be bread for the world.
As Christ gave you thanks and fed many,
may we give you thanks
and may you mulitply in our growing
and in our service for your glory.
The Awareness Examen, also called the Examen of Consciousness, is a method or way of regular open dialogue with God. It comes from a Spanish saint, Ignatius of Loyola, who died in 1556. Many find this exercise helpful at night before bed, but it is helpful also in the early evening, late afternoon, noon, or even morning. But generally, later in the day is when it makes most sense for most people. SOURCES:Joseph Tetlow, S. J., Choosing Christ In The World, Institute of Jesuit Sources, St. Louis, MO, 1989;David L. Fleming, S.J., Draw Me Into Your Friendship, The Spiritual Exercises, A Literal Translation and A Contemporary Reading, Institute of Jesuit Sources, St. Louis, MO, 1996; Mark Link, S.J.,Challenge, A Daily Meditation Program Based on The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius, Thomas More Publishing, 1993, pg. 157; Rev. Paul Wachdorf, Mundelein Seminary, Archdiocese of Chicago.
I take in the breath of life and rest in the presence of God.
a pause: in PRAISE of God
These are specific gifts of creation that this day I have
Now I remember what God has given me to draw me into fullness of life:
a pause: in THANKSGIVING
Come Holy Spirit, enlighten me, make me aware.
Inspire me to see with growing freedom
the construction of my life story.
Come Holy Spirit, help me to look upon my actions and motives
with honesty and patience,
with neither condemnation nor complacency,
and thus be open to growth.
a pause: in HUMBLE DESIRE for AWARENESS
Now I review the day, hour by hour, searching for the internal events in my life.
Was my heart divided between:
Were there opportunities for growth in faith, hope and charity?
When I made a choice, picking a particular course of action from the possibilities before me, did I act freely, or was I swept along without freedom?
a pause: to EXPRESS GRATITUDE for AWARENESS
Lord God, help me to look upon myself as you do,
with compassion, to see myself as you see me.
As I know your concern for me,
help me to know my need for you.
I am sorry for the sins of this day,
and ask you to forgive me
for when I resisted your light.
I thank you for your enlightening presence
and I give you praise for the ways
I have been open to your grace.
Your love for me is complete;
make me totally available to you.
Our Father . . .