Daily Prayer

FRIDAY THE EIGHTEENTH OF AUGUST, 2017
* Alberto Hurtado *

OPENING PRAYER

Strengthen me, O God, by the grace of your Holy Spirit. Grant me inner strength so that I might empty my heart of all useless care and anguish. O Lord, grant me heavenly wisdom, that I may learn above all things to seek and to find you, above all things to relish and to love you, and to think of all other things as being, what indeed they are, at the disposal of your wisdom. Amen.

PSALM ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTEEN ( abridged )

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his mercy endures for ever.

The Lord is at my side; I will not fear;
what can flesh do to me?
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to put any confidence in flesh.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to put any confidence in princes.

The Lord is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation.
Joyful shouts of salvation
sound from the tents of the righteous:
"The right hand of the Lord does mighty deeds;
the right hand of the Lord raises up;
the right hand of the Lord does mighty deeds."

I shall not die, but live
and declare the works of the Lord.
Open to me the gates of righteousness,
that I may enter and give thanks to the Lord.
I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me
and have become my salvation.

The stone which the builders rejected
has become the chief cornerstone.
This is the Lord's doing,
and it is marvellous in our eyes.
This is the day that the Lord has made;
we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his mercy endures for ever.

Saving God,
open the gates of righteousness,
that your pilgrim people may enter
and be built into a living temple
on the cornerstone of our salvation,
Jesus Christ our Lord.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Alberto Hurtado: Chile’s tireless advocate for the poor

Today we tell the story of Alberto Hurtado, a Jesuit priest and founder of Chile’s “Home of Christ” movement to provide for the children of the poor.

Alberto’s father died when Alberto was only four years old. And he and his mother were forced to live with and be shuffled around to other members of his family.

Thanks to a scholarship, he began to study with the Jesuits in Santiago. As he grew older he continued with them and was awarded a degree in law. Afterwards, he became a Jesuit. He earned further doctorates in pedagogy and psychology. He began his career as a college professor and priest in 1935. But his concern for the poorest of the poor was never far from him. He began to involve his college students in teaching catechism to the poor. By 1940 he had been appointed executive director of "Catholic Action Youth Movement."

Wealthy Catholic conservatives were angered by the progressive labour teachings of the Catholic Church, and Hurtado ran afoul of them by exposing the unequal pastoral care given to Chile’s poor. They accused him of being a communist.

He began to construct a series of shelters called “Hogar de Christo” (Home of Christ), where children in need of food and shelter were taken in. It was said that he used to drive an old green pick-up truck through the streets of Santiago at night, looking for people in trouble and in need of help. He was a person of tremendous personal charisma, and because of that, he attracted many supporters and collaborators in his work. Soon Hogar de Christo had spread throughout Chile. It is estimated that between 1945 and 1951 more than eight hundred and fifty thousand children received some help from the movement.

In 1947 he began a new chapter in his work: that of the trade unions. He founded the "Chilean Trade Union Association." Following the teachings of the Catholic Church on work and workers rights, he trained people to install Christian values in the trade unions of Chile. He published numerous books, articles, and periodicals on labour issues. Always, at heart, a priest, he counselled many, heard confessions, and led many people to a deeper relationship with Christ.

He died of pancreatic cancer on this day in 1952 and became a saint in the Roman Catholic Church in 2005.

Quote: “I hold that every poor man, every vagrant, every beggar is Christ carrying his cross. And as Christ, we must love and help him. We must treat him as a brother, a human being like ourselves.”

Scripture. In the second chapter of "James" at the fifth verse we read:

"Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him?"

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for the poor and those who care for them.

... for an end to poverty throughout the world.

... for trade unionists and all who campaign for the fair payment of workers and for their welfare.

... for the people of Barcelona and Cambrils; for those who were killed or injured when motor vehicles were driven into crowds of pedestrians in their towns by terrorists.

... for those who have died 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, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

READING

From "The Foundation of our Love of Neighbour"by Alberto Hurtado:

A Christian without an intense concern to love, is like a farmer unconcerned about the earth, a sailor uninterested in the sea, a musician who is careless about harmony. Yes, Christianity is the religion of love, as one poet put it, and as Christ had already told us: "The first commandment of the Law is to love the Lord thy God with your whole heart, with your whole mind, with all your strength;" and then added immediately, "And the second is like to this, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself for the love of God." (cf. Mt 22, 37-39).

In this love for our brothers that the Master commands of us, he himself went before us. We were created out of love and when we had fallen into sin, the Son of God became man to make us sons of God (what some even now consider supreme foolishness). In the Incarnation the Word united himself mystically with all human nature.

It is necessary then to accept the Incarnation with all its consequences, by extending the gift of our love not only to Jesus Christ but also to his mystical body. And this is a basic point in Christianity: to forsake the least of our brothers is to forsake Christ himself; to alleviate any one of them is to alleviate Christ, in person. When you wound one of my members you wound me; in the same way, to touch a man is to touch Christ himself. For this reason Christ told us that all the good and all the evil we might do to the least of men, we do to him.

CLOSING PRAYER

Lord Jesus Christ, you stumble through our streets in the person of the poor, the hungry, and the sick. Thank you for raising up among us Alberto Hurtado, your servant, who taught us to see you and to come to your aid. Help us to persevere in this work until that day when we will see you in your glory. Amen.

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

NOW LIGHT A CANDLE

CLICK HERE, then click on "Begin" and follow the instructions on each page.