Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

MONDAY THE TWENTY-FOURTH OF SEPTEMBER, 2018
* Marlene Kegler Krug *

OPENING PRAYER

O God, the God of all goodness and all grace, who is worthy of a greater love than we can either give or understand, fill our hearts we beseech you, with such love towards you, that nothing may seem too hard for us to do or suffer in obedience to your will; and grant that in so loving you we may become daily more like you and finally obtain the crown of life, which you have promised to those that love you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

( "Farnham Hostel Manual" nineteenth century )

CANTICLE

Praying, let us work for peace; singing, share our joy with all;
working for a world that's new; faithful when we hear Christ's call.

May the God of hope go with us every day,
filling all our lives with love and joy and peace.
May the God of justice speed us on our way,
bringing light and hope to every land and race.

May the God of healing free the earth from fear,
freeing us for peace, both treasured and pursued.
May the God of love keep our commitment clear
to a world restored, to human life renewed.

Praying, let us work for peace; singing, share our joy with all;
working for a world that's new; faithful when we hear Christ's call.

( Alvin Schutmaat and Fred Kaan )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Marlene Kegler Krug and the “Disappeared” of Argentina

Today is the day Saint Laika’s tells the story of Marlene Kegler Krug, born into a family of German Lutheran immigrants who settled in Paraguay, who, in 1976, was kidnapped by Argentinean plainclothes police, was tortured and then was among the “disappeared” in the chaos following the demise of the Peron presidency in Argentina.

Her family were members of the German Evangelical Church of the River Plate. Marlene was an active member, participating in the youth group and as a Sunday school teacher.

She was described as a “helpful, spontaneous woman, full of the joy of living.”

In 1972 she moved to Argentina to study to be an obstetrician-gynaecologist at the National University of La Plata. Though her parents offered to pay her way, she accepted only half her tuition from them, deciding to work as a maid, so that she would pay for the rest of her education. She worked among the shanty towns teaching people to read and write. She was an advocate for the poor, and this brought her to the attention of the of the Triple A, the Argentine Anticommunist Alliance, a rightwing group comprising many members of the Argentine army and police.

Marlene participated in the funeral of two colleagues who were murdered by the Triple A and joined a group called the Anti-Imperialist Front for Socialism. She was active in taking the side of the poor against the extreme right-wing of Argentinean society.

Juan Peron, President of Argentina, died on the first of July, 1974. His wife, Isabel, ruled in his place, but her rule came to a sudden end on the twenty-fourth of March, 1976, when a military junta took control of the country and began a series of repressive measures against the country’s left wing. This gave rise to “the disappeared,” people who were victims of state-sponsored terrorism. Human rights organisations place the number of the disappeared between nine thousand and thirty thousand individuals.

On the twenty-fourth of September, Marlene Kegler Krug was grabbed by three men in plainclothes and forced into a car. Eyewitness testimony revealed that she had been severely tortured, her body was never found.

What is so special about Marlene Kegler Krug was the way her faith motivated everything about her life. As a person of means, she realised her obligation to improve the lot of the poor in her society. Even at the cost of their own lives, she and the many “disappeared” of Argentina, loved the people Jesus loved, the last and the least. By honouring her memory, we acknowledge that there is much work yet to be done in the world.

Scripture. In "The Lamentations of Jeremiah," chapter three, at verses fifty-eight and fifty-nine, we read:

You have taken up my cause, O Lord, you have redeemed my life. You have seen the wrong done to me, O LORD; judge my cause.

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for the tortured and the disappeared.

... for the people of Guinea-Bissau who celebrate their national day today.

... for children suffering from mental health problems.

... for people who live with life-threatening allergies.

... for those who have died recently and for those who mourn their passing.

... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.

... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.

... for ourselves.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.

READING

From "This Poor Man Cried and the Lord Heard Him," a sermon by Pope Francis:

“This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him” (Ps 34:7).

We are told that the Lord listens to the poor who cry to him and is good to those who seek refuge in him, their hearts broken by sadness, loneliness and exclusion. The Lord listens to those who are downtrodden in their dignity and yet have the strength to look up in order to receive light and comfort. He listens to those who are persecuted in the name of a false justice, oppressed by policies unworthy of the name and intimidated by violence. And yet they know that they have their saviour in God. What emerges from this prayer is above all the sense of abandonment to, and trust in, a Father who listens and is welcoming.

It is on the same wavelength as these words that we can better understand what Jesus proclaimed with the beatitude “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).

Psalm Thirty-Four uses three verbs to characterise the attitude of the poor man and his relationship with God. First of all, “to cry”. The condition of poverty cannot be expressed in a word, but becomes a cry which crosses the heavens and reaches God. What does the cry of the poor express if not their suffering and solitude, their delusion and hope? We can ask ourselves how it is that this cry, which rises to the presence of God, is unable to penetrate our ears and leaves us indifferent and impassive?

What we need in order to recognise their voice is silence in which to listen. If we speak too much ourselves, we will be unable to hear them. Often I am afraid that many initiatives, by themselves meritorious and necessary, are intended more to please those who undertake them than to really acknowledge the cry of the poor. If this is the case, when the cry of the poor rings out our reaction is incoherent and we are unable to empathise with their condition. We are so entrapped in a culture which obliges us to look in the mirror and to pamper ourselves that we believe that a gesture of altruism is sufficient without compromising ourselves directly.

The second verb is “to answer”. The Lord, the Psalmist tells us, not only listens to the cry of the poor, but he answers it. His answer, as attested by the whole history of salvation, is an all-loving sharing in the condition of the poor. God’s answer to the poor is always an intervention of salvation in order to heal the wounds of body and soul, restore justice and assist in beginning anew to live life with dignity. God’s answer is also an appeal in order that those who believe in him can do the same within the limitations of their human nature.

The third verb is “to free”. The poor of the Bible live with the certainty that God intervenes in their favour to restore their dignity. Poverty is not brought on by itself, but is caused by selfishness, pride, greed and injustice. These are evils as old as man himself, but also sins in which the innocents are caught up, leading to consequences on the social level which are dramatic. God’s liberating action is an act of salvation towards those who manifest their sadness and distress to him. The prison of poverty is broken open by the power of God’s intervention.

“Thou hast seen my affliction,
thou hast taken heed of my adversities,
thou hast set my feet in a broad place”
( Psalm 31:8-9).

To offer the poor a “broad space” is to liberate them from the “snare of the fowler” ( Psalm 91:3) and subtract them from the trap hidden on their path, in order that they might proceed expeditiously and look serenely upon life. God’s salvation takes the form of hand held out to the poor which is welcoming, offers protection and allows them to experience the friendship which they need. It is beginning with this concrete and tangible proximity that a genuine path of liberation emerges.

“Each individual Christian and every community is called to be an instrument of God for the liberation and promotion of the poor, and for enabling them to be fully a part of society. This demands that we be docile and attentive to the cry of the poor and to come to their aid” ( Evangelii gaudium, 187).

CLOSING PRAYERS

Almighty God, in whom the lost ones of the earth all find a home, inspire us by the example of Marlene Kegler Krug, to make no peace with oppression and to work for equal protection under the law, until all your children in every land, may rest secure in you; through Jesus Christ, our saviour and lord. Amen.

May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

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