Guide for Prayer for the week of May 8-14, 2005
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The Seventh Week of Easter

In many dioceses, this week begins with the Seventh Sunday of Easter. (In some places, the Ascension is celebrated today, rather than this past Thursday.) The readings for the Seventh Sunday of Easter give us a post-Ascension, pre-Pentecost feel.

This is our last week of the Acts of the Apostoles. The Apostles carry on the work of Jesus and the future community takes shape with the gift of the Holy Spirit being given to the gentiles.

The "Priestly Prayer" of Jesus which we read in the gospels this week lets us listen in on the prayer of Jesus for his disciples, and for us. He doesn't ask the Father to take us from the world, but we can tell that he is concerned for us. It is tender and feels quite personal. We are the Father's gift to Jesus, entrusted to his care and now he prays that we might all be one, that the world might know it was the Father who sent Jesus.

Friday of this week takes us to the end of the Fourth Gospel and image of Jesus shaping Peter's ministry (and ours). If we love him, then he asks us to feed his sheep.

Saturday offers us the Feast of St. Matthias (the Apostle chosen to replace Judas) in the morning and the Vigil of Pentecost for the day. Reading the Vigil readings can help us prepare for Pentecost.

Sunday is the great feast of Pentecost - the birthday of the Church. The frightened Apostles are on fire. Now they can speak clearly, so everyone can understand them. Jesus gives his peace to his disciples and breathes his Spirit upon them, giving them the mission to forgive and sending them to carry out his desire that we all be one.

Lord, send out your Spirit,
and renew the face of the earth.


Daily Prayer This Week

This week, let's be a Church between Ascension and Pentecost - sensing Jesus has gone before us and longing for the gifts of the Holy Spirit. And, couldn't we pray to the Father this week, as Jesus did? And the means, as always is through the desires churning around in our hearts. Getting in touch with those desires will bring us closer to preparation for celebrating Pentecost. Naming what we long for, will place us with Jesus, praying to the Father for help.

Of course, it can be tender and quite personal, speaking to our Father with a Jesus-given intimacy. And, what makes it concrete, real, and a prayer from the heart of each of us, is that we are letting all of this interact with the real things in our everyday life.

It may come easily, spontaneously, as I'm getting dressed or in any of the "background times" of my day. But, it may be difficult for me to know how to address the Father. Perhaps my father-memories aren't warm and tender. All we have to do is relax and try it. We will meet a Father who loves us and longs for us to be relaxed and speak heart-to-Heart. It can start with a dialogue with myself, e.g., where I ask myself questions and then answer myself.

What am I feeling? What fears can I name? What anxieties, worries come to me as I try to get in touch with what's going on right now? Who comes to my mind? Who is struggling? With whom am I in conflict? Am I frustrated? Tired? Feeling taken for granted? Where am I 'cutting corners,' or cheating or lying to myself or others? What's missing? What am I hungry for? What am I dreaming about? What is giving me joy?

The desires that flow from my answers to these questions form our daily prayer this week. We find that we have plenty to talk with the Father about and ask for. Perhaps we can pray:

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful
and enkindle within them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit and we shall be re-created and
join you in renewing the face of the earth.

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