In the second reading this Sunday St. Paul tells the Corinthians that they must give their undivided attention to the Lord. He knows that, for people with a family to feed and care for, this can be very difficult. One of the ways in which families can focus on Christ is by praying together. Parents can begin praying with their children in the evening and in the morning too. When families or other groups pray together, although the time we devote to formal prayer may be very small in comparison with the rest of the day, it creates an aura in which we can be aware that we are living in the presence of, and working for, the Lord. Indeed, praying before meetings or taking individual decisions, or before difficult tasks and situations, helps us to realize that we are indeed working in the presence of the Lord rather than experiencing work as a distraction. At this time of Covid many of us are working in different ways from the ones we have been used to and either spending much more time with those we live with, or, for those who live alone, spending much time on our own. Whether we are feeling more pressure or, on the contrary, feel threatened with loneliness or boredom, we can be certain the God wanst to help us with his grace to continue on our pilgrimage with the Church.
The Rosary is a way of praying which I find to be very helpful. The mysteries of the Rosary, staring with the first joyful mystery, the Annunciation by the Angel Gabriel to Mary, and ending with the fifth glorious mystery, the Crowing of Our Lady Queen of Heaven and the Glorifying of all the Saints, helps us recall the evets of our salvation and the hope we have in the making good and fulfillment of all things at the end of time.
In the month of January there are several annual events in which a common theme can be discerned. This Sunday is Racial Justice Sunday – see the Westminster Diocese website, Martin Luther King Day was kept in the US on 16th, Holocaust Memorial Day was on 27th and we concluded the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity with the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul on Monday the 25th. All show the importance of respect for the “other” –other faiths – other cultures – other races- other Christian communities. It can be easy to fall into the trap of not seeing others as having the same human dignity before God as ourselves, if they remain strangers to us. We can at least remember them in prayer. When we pray, individually or in groups, we need to ask God that we will accept His invitation to accept His love and thus be able to love with the love of His Son. We must realise that the gift of the love of Christ, must be used to love not just those to whom we find it easier to relate, but anyone we encounter.