Celebrant: The saints had complete confidence in God's power to meet all their needs. Let us have that same confidence as we now present our needs before His throne.
That in union with all the saints, the Church on earth may be a faithful bride and servant of her Lord Jesus Christ, bearing faithful witness to his Gospel, we pray to the Lord.
That following the example of the saints, the spiritual leaders of the Church may seek God's kingdom above everything else, and be inspiring witnesses of a holy life, we pray to the Lord.
That seeking the wisdom of the saints, government leaders may put their own interests aside and make whatever sacrifices are necessary to serve those who elected them, we pray to the Lord.
That relying on the prayers of the saints, we may work for justice for all the poor, the oppressed, and the unborn, whose most basic rights are denied, we pray to the Lord.
That learning from the suffering of the saints, all who are ill may grow in their trust of the God who brings us consolation in all our trials, we pray to the Lord.
That longing to be with the saints, those who have died may be gathered into the heavenly kingdom, we pray to the Lord.
Celebrant: God of holiness, we thank you for the example of the saints. May their teaching and witness make us always faithful to you, in times of prosperity and in times of need. We pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Building a Culture of Life
Bishop Michael W. Warfel of the Diocese of Juneau, AK had this to say about cultivating a culture of life: “The toleration and promotion of abortion, socially and legally, has clouded individual consciences and made it difficult for many to distinguish between good and evil, even when what is at stake is the fundamental right to life. If we reject the value and dignity of human life, our culture becomes more and more based on a lie and its structures cannot long endure. But how do we help others to understand this? By transforming our culture into one that respects and defends human life! In addition to encouraging laws that protect innocent human life, it is necessary to speak of the deeper truth behind such laws: that all human life is sacred; that God is its author; that we do not own life.”
Rv 7:2-4, 9-14
1 Jn 3: 1-3
Mt 5: 1-12a
One could say that this is a Feast of Perspective, of renewing our focus on what really matters, and of realizing that our human way of thinking is not God's way. The eschatological perspective provided by the Book of Revelation in the first reading, the words of John in the second reading showing us the essence of holiness, and the lesson of the Beatitudes that keeps reminding us how we usually get things upside-down, all contribute to this perspective. And it is not just a matter of how we see things, but of where our passion is, as the Psalm makes clear. We are the people that longs to see God's face. That's the driving force behind our worship, our daily activities, and the manner in which we handle our daily trials.
When we have the perspective of the saints, we can see why people are more important than things, and why the most neglected of people -- who in our society are the unborn -- are in fact most worthy of our attention and service. The saints lived the Beatitudes, by first of all weeping over the evils in themselves and in the world. Have we wept for the oppressed? Have we shed tears for the unborn? Have we, like the saints, allowed our hearts to be broken open, so that God can pour into them the compassion and active love necessary to meet our neighbors' needs?
The saints, having done this, thirsted for holiness (for themselves) and for justice (for others). They did precisely what the Church does today in speaking up for the helpless. It's not simply a political agenda. Rather, it's part of longing to see God's face. We do see his face in the poor, the oppressed, the forgotten, the unborn -- and because we see his face there, we serve our neighbor and we proclaim to others that God is there. And when we live a life of fidelity in doing that, we end up seeing God face to face for all eternity.