21 Dec
3rd Week of Advent
St Peter Canisius, priest & doctor
Sgs. 2:8-14 or Zeph. 3:14-18
Ps. 33:2-3, 11-12, 20-21
Lk. 1:39-45
How To Pray With Shalom
Home Page of Shalom
Index of This Month

We often think that the Gospel story narrates the graced encounter of two women, Mary and Elizabeth - rightly so. But are they the main or the only protagonists? In reality, however,the main characters in the visitation are the unborn infants, Jesus and John, and their mothers' primary function is to articulate the significance of their pre-natal encounter. Therefore,it is a story of more than one encounter - the two expectant mothers' visible encounter; the encounter between the two unborn children; and conversely, the different characters with each other - encounters that will have a definitive bearing on the rest of their lives. Let us never underestimate the significance of an encounter. We could never anticipate or know with certainty whom we would actually meet - God, His angels or Christ in the other person. An encounter does not merely imply a physical presence - it means a presence of our entire being. We are present to one another by listening, by observing, by sharing or by our silence. Pastoral presence means attentive and loving presence. We are present to each other in self-giving. And because of this, authentic encounters always involve transformation.

Blessed Mother, intercede for us as we pray for the grace to be attentively present to the other, and that we may encounter Your Son, Christ our Saviour.

Eternal Father, I offer You everything I do this day; my thoughts, words, joys and sufferings. Grant that, vivified by the Holy Spirit and united to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, my life this day may be of service to You and to others. I also pray that all those preparing for marriage discover in Sacrament the source of Christ's grace for living a fithful and fruitful love. Amen.

That Christians may free themselves from the subtle forms of cultural conditioning which prevent them from recognising the dignity and rights of others

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P R A Y I N G    W I T H    T H E    C H U R C H    

INTENTION : That Christians may free themselves from the subtle forms of cultural conditioning which prevent them from recognising the dignity and rights of others

Our vocation and mission as Christians is to bring the light of Christ to the world in order to preserve the world from corruption by permeating it with the values of the Gospel. We need, ourselves, first and foremost to be enlightened by Christ. We do not generate light, we only refract, reflect and radiate. It is His light that we must cast on the world. The more transparent our lives are with the values of the Gospel, the better is the light of Christ reflected and the less we are seen.

The world in which we live is mixed with wheat and weeds. There is good and evil. Consumerism is but the logical sequence of a materialistic way of life. Spiritual values are forgotten. Our wants are made to appear as our needs and we are forced to get so immersed in the joys of this world as to forget the joys of the world to come. We are admonished to be aware lest we be trapped by these and other forms of cultural conditioning that mark this world.

Awareness is the first step to change. We pray that this awareness may help us to be delivered from the cultural conditioning that hinders and hampers our vision and prevents us from recognising the dignity and the rights of others.

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