Pope's prayer intention for August

Published on 31 Jul 2020
Graphic with Pope's August prayer intention on it

PRAYING WITH THE POPE IN AUGUST – FOR THOSE AT SEA.

This most extraordinary year of pain and suffering continues into the late summer, in this hemisphere, extraordinary in many ways but not least that its global pandemic is affecting, almost certainly, every single human on the face of the earth. It makes you think of that powerful contemplation of St.Ignatius Loyola, in the Spiritual Exercises, in which he invites you to imagine how the Blessed Trinity gazes timelessly down on the whole globe, seeing all the good and the bad, all the human suffering and all the noble, selfless work that is being done; and then, moved by divine creativity and love, resolves to enter human history and reality to be one with us in it all.

One possible trap is to tell ourselves that, in such pain and devastation, there are no others who need our prayers; but other human difficulties have not gone away. That is why the August Intention of the Holy Father, selected many months ago, is still presented to us through his Worldwide Prayer Network. We’re invited to pray, with the Pope, “for all those who work and live from the sea, among them sailors, fishermen and their families”.

THE EVIL ONE TRIES TO DIVERT OUR ATTENTION

Not just this month but every month, most of us rely on those of our brothers and sisters who work on the seas, in so many ways, from providing transport for people and freight to harvesting our food from those seas. The fact that many graces continue to be offered to the world cannot be overlooked by the followers of Christ, who know that even in the deepest suffering there is light. St.Ignatius is one among many spiritual masters who would point to how the bad spirit’s tactics might include trying to focus our attention ony on our own woes, deep and serious though they might be, if the result were to be that we ignored another person’s suffering and did nothing to help. Thus the Holy Father continues to single out specific challenges facing humanity and the Church’s mission, encouraging us to take these into our prayer. We can do this as well as praying about this massive threat to humanity that is the pandemic; what ultimately matters is training our hearts to be more like Christ’s heart, full of compassion for all of creation.

THE PRICE PAID BY THOSE WHO WORK & LIVE FROM THE SEA

Seafarers so often are forgotten, overlooked. Crews of long-distance freight shipping, in particular, often face periods of many months away from home and families, rarely in pleasant situations, living in cramped accommodation, working long hours with little opportunity for off-duty recreation, still less access to the sacraments. The cost of our seafood is so often high in human terms, of life and suffering. Inhabitants of fishing ports know very well how many tragedies have affected communities and families as brave fishermen are lost at sea. We should remember then all in our prayer particularly this month, particularly invoking the intercession of the Apostles such as St.Peter, themselves fishermen.

Writing in the Pope’s Prayer Network “Living Prayer 2020” booklet this month, Sr.Siobhan SHJM notes: ”Inclement weather, poor quality boats and ever changing legislation cripples the fishing industry, plunging the families of these good men into poverty and distress … our abuse of creation pollutes the oceans – the seabed is poisoned, fish die … fishing trawlers are captured by human traffickers … the God of creation fills the seas with his tears”. She continues, “Our world cries out for healing and renewal. May we place our hand into the hand of the God who calmed the seas, that his beautiful gift of creation may be restored and all whose lives depend on the fruits of the ocean be protected, this day and always. As one, may we rejoice and give thanks, Amen”. These loving thoughts can accompany our prayers this month as we pray with the Pope, for all those who work and live from the sea.

A SUGGESTED MORNING OFFERING PRAYER FOR THIS MONTH

Heavenly Father, I thank you for your goodness to me as I start a new day. May your Holy Spirit strengthen my resolve to be a light to others in all that I say and do today. I offer all my works, joys and sufferings this day for the intention of Pope Francis for this month. With your grace, assist me to be mindful of those who live and work from the sea. Hail, Mary …

Or

Heavenly Father, I begin this day anew in your presence. May your Holy Spirit be my constant guide and companion, filling me with life to spread the Gospel through my deeds and words. I offer you this day my prayers, works, joys and suffering, for the Church, all the Apostles of Prayer and for the intentions of Pope Francis for this month, especially for seafarers, as the Holy Father requests. Our Father …

AN ONLINE MOMENT

Have a look at our hugely popular Click-to-Pray App & website, available in more and more languages each month. Download the App; sign up, if you’d like, for daily prayer alerts in your Inbox or on your phone so that you remember to begin each day with a prayer and Morning Offering. A new prayer is composed for each morning, so together we can make each day anew. There is also a midday reflection moment and a suggested evening prayerful review of the day, to help you claim the graces that the Lord has been offering you all day (and, when needed, to make amends for any missed opportunities to be an apostle during the day). Free downloads available on all the usual online stores – just search ClicktoPrayApp.

PROPOSALS AND CHALLENGES

1: Research the work of the Apostleship of the Sea, learn more about their wonderful ministry of support for seafarers and about the work of a Port Chaplain. When the situation allows, discuss with your parish leaders inviting an AoS representative to come to your parish or worshipping community to showcase their work.

2: spend some prayer-time, alone or in a prayer-group, bringing to mind the suffering and great cost so often paid by those who work and live from the sea. This is an excellent and practical way of praying with the Pope this month in his intention.

3: Think about beginning your day with a Morning Offering to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, using the prayers given above, those on the Click to Pray website and App or the traditional form of the Morning Offering. If you do this already, resolve to renew your commitment to this important ministry in the Church. Offer yourself in the morning for the mission of Christ that day and don’t worry about how that will work out, for the Lord will use your offering of yourself in ways that will surprise and delight you!

LOOKING AHEAD

We will launch, soon, our “Way of the Heart” programme in English as another way of training ourselves and our hearts to be available for Christ’s mission. Coming soon!

Also, please note that the Living Prayer 2020 booklets are now sold out. We cannot take any more orders for the time being for our packs of Prayer Network prayer-cards, owing to pandemic restrictions and some logistical challenges. Normal service will resume in the autumn.