Pray for children

Will you pray for God's little children?

Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven

This blog invites you to pray for the protection of children and young people. Will you pray for God's little children, from the unborn baby in the womb, the new born baby, little children of all ages and young people.  It could be your child you want to pray for or just any child.  You can pray before the Blessed Sacrament for one hour a week or before a tabernacle in your church.  If you are not able to make it to a church you can pray in your own home. Please join us as we pray.

This blog was set up under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ and our Blessed Lady are its patrons.

I Believe In Life Everlasting

November is the month of the Holy Souls, and we especially pray for children and young people who have died. We remember all God's little ones who have gone back to Him and are hopefully at peace with him in Heaven. We pray this month also for family and friends who have lost a child or young person and who miss them most deeply.

Suicide is sadly a painful part of modern-day society, that is so hidden in ways. The announcement that someone has died ‘by their own hand’, inevitably shocks the wider community at first. Trains are halted, perhaps, schedules are interrupted but life gets moving again, and the tragedy becomes another statistic in the catalogue of deaths. However, for the immediate family, friends and close-knit communities, the effects are more personal and longer-lasting, a wrenching from the socket that is irreplaceable.

Then there is the other hidden part of suicide and that is the turmoil in the mind of the person who has ended their life. Whether by accident or ‘design’, deaths of children and young persons are shocking. In youth, there is beauty and in beauty there is truth (Almost paraphrasing Keats's ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’). The loss of truth in our lives may question our values. It should lead us to ask why someone might fear life or living, enough to prematurely hand back the most precious gift that they have ever received. Perhaps in their diminished responsibility, they did not fear death enough to ask themselves what might become of their souls, as a result of their actions?

As humans, we should be able to empathise with those whose loved ones have been lost. But we should question why these losses had to happen, with a view to preventing unnecessary deaths in the future. We would certainly examine all the earthly reasons why someone inflicted such an act of violence upon themselves, particularly when their lives to that point indicated that theirs were gentle, caring souls displaying anything other than a complete disregard for their safety and the safety of others. But on a higher plane, we should examine our own beliefs and know that God must be suffering at a level that we perhaps cannot understand, but should be aware of. To seek answers into a loss of life of this nature, without recourse to the very source of life, will produce an inconclusive outcome. God has given us a fundamental part, if not the essence of Himself, to cherish and to nurture and to do good with. Everyone is responsible for his life before God who has given it to him.

It is God who remains the sovereign Master of life. Cf. CCC 2280. God is a God of mercy and love. The Christian who unites his own death to that of Jesus views it as a step towards him and an entrance into everlasting life. CCC 1020. Those who die in God's grace and friendship and are perfectly purified live for ever with Christ. (Cf. CCC 1023, 1Jn 3:2, 1 Cor 13:12, Rev 22:4.

But we should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to Him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. CCC 2282, 2283. From the beginning the Church has honoured the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that this purified they may attain the beatific vision of God. CCC Council of Lyons 11 (1274): DS 856, CCC 1032.

Babies and little children have sadly died through illness, accidents or at the hands of others. These little ones who have never known sin are truly blessed. While parents do and should mourn the loss of their child which is perfectly natural, they should also rejoice in God because their little one has gone back to Him and enjoy eternal peace and Joy in heaven. Those who die in God's grace and friendship and are perfectly purified live for ever with Christ. They are like God for ever, for they 'see him as he is' face to face. (Cf. CCC 1023, 1Jn 3:2, 1 Cor 13:12, Rev 22:4.  This perfect life with the Most Holy Trinity - this communion of life and love with the Trinity, with the Virgin Mary, the angels and all the blessed - is called 'heaven'. Heaven is the ultimate end and fulfilment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness. To live in heaven is 'to be with Christ'. Heaven is the blessed community of all who are perfectly incorporated into Christ.  Cf. CCC 1024, 1025, 1026 8596/*98)

Let us help and commemorate them. If Job's sons were purified by their father's sacrifice, why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them. Cf. St. John Chrysostom, Hom. In 1Cor 41, 5 PG 61, 361C; cf Job 1:5.

For life is to be with Christ; where Christ is, there is life, there is the kingdom.
(St. Ambrose)

 

Hope, O My Soul Hope

Fr. Fergal Cummins after his Ordination.

The newness of life is the birth of hope.

This month of October we pray for the gift of hope that is so much needed in our time. We pray that our children may know the meaning of hope in their little lives and that they too will be bundles of hope to all they meet.

Hope in Life and Death

As adults, and adults who are parents growing old, events it seems begin to overtake us. Life takes on new and different meanings; or perhaps we just see things differently. When our children were young, they were at the centre of our universe, monopolising our love, time and energy, demanding our attention, needing our support. Occasionally, they defied us, eventually left home, made their way in the world, and returned to us for special occasions – our birthdays, their birthdays, Christmas and funerals.

Photographs and memories. We have plenty of both, one usually generating the other. With modern technology and rose-tinted memories, it is possible to preserve them and remember, revive even, the hopes we had for ourselves and our children when we were young. Life was especially brimming with hope upon each birth, a fresh addition to the growing family, the community. In the middle of all the budgeting for their pressing needs, we had dreams for them; and when they got older, they developed their own aspirations and desires.

For most of last month, we waited for the arrival of our first grand-child. He was in no hurry. He missed his date, by ten days. His great grandmother-to-be wasn’t well and we were exhorting her to hang on until he arrived. He did eventually, all hale and hearty, a bonny baby. The first photographs arrived by e-mail minutes after he emerged, and he succeeded in changing the status of several people, although some of the younger, new aunties slightly flinched at their titles. And the great grandmother lived to see pictures of her great grand-child, and now our exhortation is that she must hang on, at least until she holds him in her arms.

Almost simultaneously, one of the new baby’s grand-aunts died, quite suddenly in the end, after a brief illness, which may have been short on suffering, but allowed little time for saying a final goodbye. This had been unexpected and had hidden, tucked away beneath all the other dramas in the extended family. She had time, just, to see the pictures of her great grand-nephew, which brought a smile to her emaciated but graceful features. We buried her in the family plot, on a mild Autumn day, in the last week of September. At least, it will be hard not to think of her, when the little child is foremost in our thoughts.

On the very last day of September, when the cloud almost but not quite succeeded in blotting out the sun, and the trees had almost fully donned their autumnal coats, we attended an ordination. The young man was known to us, having visited the aforementioned great-grandmother, the joy at his presence bringing some relief from her pain that day. Indeed, after her oft-repeated enquiry about the birth of her great grand-child, her second most-repeated question was about the ordination of the new priest.

The new diocesan bishop presided at his very first ordination. Standing graciously at his side was his predecessor in the role, making the occasion just a little more memorable for those whose many children he had confirmed over the years.

The sun broke free from the clasp of the clouds just as the new priest received his Holy Orders. It shone too as he was being dressed in his vestments by his proud, loving family. Warmth accompanied the light as the bishop gave thanks for the new addition to the ranks, enabling the continuation of a tradition which had had its origins with Jesus Christ, and perhaps even before that. As mass continued, the new priest took his place at the side of his bishop. Fittingly, the church choir sang about ‘The Joy of Love’.

Hope, O my soul, hope.

Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the Kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ's promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit. Cf. (CCC 1817). The virtue of hope responds to the aspiration to happiness which God has placed in the heart of every man; it takes up the hopes that inspire men's activities and purifies them so as to order them to the Kingdom of heaven; it keeps man from discouragement; it sustains him during times of abandonment; it opens up his heart in expectation of eternal beatitude. Buoyed up by hope, he is preserved from selfishness and led to the happiness that flows from charity. Cf. (CCC 1818).

Hope springs eternal

Hope and anxiety are sometimes twinned. Certainly, they continue to preside over family events, and after a period of waiting, manifest themselves in an elatedness of spirit, expression of relief or disappointment. But it is hope which must endure, the theological virtue responding to the aspiration to happiness, whether at the arrival of the new-born child, or the passing of a loved one to eternal life with God in Heaven. (The virtue) takes up the hopes that inspired a young man to enter the priesthood, and opened his heart in expectation of eternal beatitude. Hope gives encouragement to the Church and its faithful congregation, sustaining each during times of challenge and abandonment. Hope preserves us from selfishness as we dedicate our lives to our children, happy in their achievements, the sacrifice worth it. Hope is forever, giving us the strength to accept the finality of our earthly existence, and to desire the Kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness .