Pope Benedict's Prayer Intentions for May 2012
General Intention - The Family
That initiatives which defend and uphold the role of the family may be promoted within society.
Pope Benedict is concerned that our families are being torn apart by the secularization of society. Last year in Croatia he said that ever-growing secularization "leads to the exclusion of God from life and the increasing disintegration of the family."
This month Pope Benedict will attend the Seventh World Meeting of Families. No doubt he had this in mind when he asked us to join him in praying for the success of social initiatives which uphold the family.
Secularization erodes our consensus on fundamental values. For example, love between a man and a woman, Pope Benedict said, "is reduced to sentimental emotion and to the gratification of instinctive impulses, without a commitment to build lasting bonds of reciprocal belonging and without openness to life."
Addressing ambassadors to the Vatican in January this year, Pope Benedict emphasized that society itself depends on strong families. Marriage of a man and a woman, said the Pope, "is not a simple social convention, but rather the fundamental cell of every society." Families in which spouses and children are challenged to grow beyond self-centeredness and to learn self-sacrificing love are the key to a healthy society in which individuals look to the common good of all.
In 2006 the Pope said that to properly recognize marriage is "one of the greatest...means of ensuring dignity, equality, and true freedom of the human person."
In 2009 the Holy Father asked leaders to promote "legal and administrative measures...that support families with their inalienable rights, necessary if they are to continue to carry out their extraordinary mission."
How can you and I encourage society to support and strengthen the family?
Psalm 127 Behold, children are a gift from the Lord.
- Pope Benedict's Homily at the First National Day of Croation Catholic Families on June 5, 2011
- Pope Benedict's Message to the Sixth World Meeting of Families, January 18, 2009
- Pope Benedict's Letter in preparation for the Seventh World Day of Families to be held in Milan, Italy, May 30-June 2, 2012
- Pope John Paul II's 1981 Apostolic Exhortation "On the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World"
|Mission Intention - Mary, Guide of Missionaries
That Mary, Queen of the World and Star of Evangelization, may accompany all missionaries in proclaiming her Son Jesus.
May is Mary's month. The English Jesuit Gerard Manley Hopkins honored her in his poem "May Magnificat":
All things rising, all things sizing
Mary sees, sympathizing
With that world of good,
After Jesus was conceived in her womb, Mary rejoiced in the new life within and around her. So it is fitting that we honor the Mother of God during the month when Mother Nature is so active.
When he was dying on the cross, Jesus said to John, his beloved disciple, "Behold, your mother," and in so doing he gave Mary to us as our mother too (John 19:27). At the first Pentecost, Mary was in the Upper Room praying with the apostles for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit so that the Church might spread throughout the world. She was both a guide and support for the apostles, the first missionaries.
Mary is sometimes called the Star of Evangelization because her acceptance of God's will preceded the dawn, the birth of the Savior. As mother of the Son, Christ the King, Mary shares in his royalty. She is the Queen of the World, our Queen Mother. She cares for her human subjects, calling them to conversion throughout history. She always says to us what she said to her Son's disciples: "Do whatever he tells you" (John 2:5).
We join Pope Benedict in asking Mary to be with missionaries. We ask her to help them proclaim the love of Jesus in their words and deeds so that there may be a new springtime of faith throughout the world.
Although she wasn't an apostle, Mary was a missionary. How can you be a missionary like Mary?
Acts 1:13-14 All devoted themselves to prayer together with mary, the mother of Jesus.
- Pope Benedict's Homily in Sardinia on September 7, 2008
- Pope Benedict's Homily at the Holy Mass for the New Evangelization on October 16, 2011
- Pope Benedict's Apostolic Letter establishing the Pontifical Councel for the New Evangelization
- Pope Benedict's Homily in Lourdes on the occasion of the 150th Anniversary of the Apparitions
|Prayer of the Month|
Holy Mary, star of the new evangelization, make us the light of the world. We receive Christ in the Eucharist; help us build the Kingdom in the world. Teach us to do whatever He tells us. May our study of His life lead us to love Him, and our love for Him lead us to imitate Him. If we are what we should be, we will set the world ablaze and affect the culture. We ask your intercession to make this so, through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
—Archdiocese of Portland, OR