08 March 2020

Praying through Lent with
USPG (12): 8 March 2020

Starvation … a sculpture in Auchwitz by Meiczyslaw Stobierski (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

Today [8 March 2020] is the Second Sunday in Lent. Later this morning, I am presiding and preaching at the Parish Eucharist in Castletown Church, Co Limerick at 9.30 and leading and preaching at Morning Prayer in Holy Trinity Church, Rathkeale.

During Lent this year, I am using the USPG Prayer Diary, Pray with the World Church, for my morning prayers and reflections. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and the end of the Holocaust, so I am illustrating my reflections each morning with images that emphasise this theme.

USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel) is the Anglican mission agency that partners churches and communities worldwide in God’s mission to enliven faith, strengthen relationships, unlock potential, and champion justice. It was founded in 1701.

Today is International Women’s Day, and this week (8-14 March) the USPG Prayer Diary is focussing on women’s rights and gender-based violence.

This morning, the diary publishes ‘Thoughts on International Women’s Day’ by Yvonne Barrow of the Human Rights and Social Justice Commission in the Diocese of Guyana. She writes:

One day is not enough to celebrate my strength, but it is a reminder of the power I possess and the progress I have made. This momentous day is more than an observation for me, it is my daily life and advocacy. In Guyana, the campaigns go beyond a day. Observances are celebrated prior and after via social media, radio and television advertisements, concerts and workshops.

Throughout the excitement, as always, I self-evaluate my place of being as a young woman. The battles I have conquered for my family and women that needed that ‘push’. The adversities of my sisters and those that continue to bend to fulfil the meaning of womanhood. From a country girl in the market streets to a woman in leadership; empowering hearts and minds is who I am.

We pray for women and girls growing up in societies where women have endured pain and suppression for years. May hope and strength be restored in themselves, families and institutions, so that women and girls can thrive.

Sunday 8 March 2020, the Second Sunday in Lent and International Women’s Day

Dear Lord and heavenly Father,
we pray that women and girls are moulded and empowered
to change the hearts and minds of every individual they touch.
We pray against evil and unjust thoughts that will hinder their growth.
May their hearts be cleansed and renewed
through Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.

Readings: Genesis 12: 1-4a; Psalm 121; Romans 4: 1-5, 13-17; John 3: 1-17.

The Collect of the Day:

Almighty God,
you show to those who are in error the light of your truth
that they may return to the way of righteousness:
Grant to all those who are admitted
into the fellowship of Christ’s religion,
that they may reject those things
that are contrary to their profession,
and follow all such things
as are agreeable to the same;
through our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Lenten Collect:

Almighty and everlasting God,
you hate nothing that you have made
and forgive the sins of all those who are penitent:
Create and make in us new and contrite hearts
that we, worthily lamenting our sins
and acknowledging our wretchedness,
may receive from you, the God of all mercy,
perfect remission and forgiveness;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Post Communion Prayer:

Almighty God,
you have given your only Son to be for us
both a sacrifice for sin and also an example of godly life:
Give us grace
that we may always most thankfully receive
these his inestimable gifts,
and also daily endeavour ourselves
to follow the blessed steps of his most holy life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life’ (John 3: 16) … Luke Jerram’s installation of the Earth can be seen in Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Limerick, from next Sunday (15 March 2020) for a week.

Continued tomorrow

Yesterday’s reflection

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