03 December 2022
Praying in Advent with Lichfield Cathedral
and USPG: Saturday 3 December 2022
Advent began on Sunday (27 November 2022), the First Sunday of Advent.
The Calendar of the Church of England in Common Worship today (3 December) recalls Saint Francis Xavier, Missionary, Apostle of the Indies, 1552, with a commemoration.
Francis was born at the castle of Xavier in Spanish Navarre in 1506. He was educated in Paris and, with Ignatius of Loyola, became one of the group of seven who took vows as the first members of the Society of Jesus, or Jesuits.
Since preaching the gospel overseas was an integral part of the Jesuit vocation, Francis sailed for Goa, on the west coast of India, in 1541. He travelled all over the East Indies, evangelizing and establishing the Church in Ceylon, Malacca, Malaya and notably in Japan, where he left behind 2,000 converts. He had just reached China when he died on board ship in December 1552.
I am in London later today. But, before this day gets busy, I am taking some time this morning for reading, prayer and reflection.
During Advent, I am reflecting in these ways:
1, The reading suggested in the Advent and Christmas Devotional Calendar produced by Lichfield Cathedral this year;
2, praying with the Lichfield Cathedral Devotional Calendar;
3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary, ‘Pray with the World Church.’
Matthew 9: 35-10: 1, 6-8 (NRSVA):
35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; 38 therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.’
10 Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness.
6 but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 As you go, proclaim the good news, “The kingdom of heaven has come near.” 8 Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment.’
The Lichfield Cathedral Devotional Calendar:
Reflect on how Jesus gives his disciples a share in his work (ministry). Think about the opportunities we have to take up that work. What would it look like? What would my role be? How can we help one another take on a share in Jesus’s work?
give us grace to cast away the works of darkness
and to put on the armour of light,
now in the time of this mortal life,
in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility;
that on the last day,
when he shall come again in his glorious majesty
to judge the living and the dead,
we may rise to the life immortal;
through him who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
O Lord our God,
make us watchful and keep us faithful
as we await the coming of your Son our Lord;
that, when he shall appear,
he may not find us sleeping in sin
but active in his service
and joyful in his praise;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
as your kingdom dawns,
turn us from the darkness of sin
to the light of holiness,
that we may be ready to meet you
in our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Collect on the Eve of Advent 2:
O Lord, raise up, we pray, your power
and come among us,
and with great might succour us;
that whereas, through our sins and wickedness
we are grievously hindered
in running the race that is set before us,
your bountiful grace and mercy
may speedily help and deliver us;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
to whom with you and the Holy Spirit,
be honour and glory, now and for ever.
USPG Prayer Diary:
The theme in the USPG Prayer Diary this week has been ‘World Aids Day.’ This theme was introduced on Sunday with a report from the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe.
The USPG Prayer Diary invites us to pray today in these words:
Let us give thanks for the Church in Zimbabwe. May its work to address inequality and prejudice strengthen the communities it serves.
Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition copyright © 1989, 1995, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org