Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

WEDNESDAY THE EIGHTH OF FEBRUARY, 2017

OPENING PRAYER

Gracious God, when the struggles of life hem me in on every side, open me to the freedom of your presence that can help me see beyond every restriction, every limit that binds me.

O God, give me the wisdom to see the subtle ways people can be enslaved and the courage to speak for those who have no voice. I ask this for the sake of your love. Amen.

PSALM THIRTY-EIGHT ( abridged )

Lord, let me know my end and the number of my days.

I said, "I will keep watch over my ways,
so that I offend not with my tongue.
I will guard my mouth with a muzzle
while the wicked are in my sight."

So I held my tongue and said nothing;
I kept silent but to no avail.
My distress increased, my heart grew hot within me;
while I mused, the fire was kindled
and I spoke out with my tongue:

"Lord, let me know my end and the number of my days,
that I may know how short my time is.
You have made my days but a handsbreadth,
and my lifetime is as nothing in your sight;
truly, even those who stand upright are but a breath.
We walk about like a shadow
and in vain we are in turmoil;
we heap up riches and cannot tell who will gather them.
And now, what is my hope?
Truly my hope is even in you.
Deliver me from all my transgressions
and do not make me the taunt of the fool."

Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry;
hold not your peace at my tears.
For I am but a stranger with you,
a wayfarer, as all my forebears were.
Turn your gaze from me, that I may be glad again,
before I go my way and am no more.

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.

Lord, let me know my end and the number of my days.

O Christ, Son of the living God,
help us when we are too cast down to pray,
and grant that we may trust you all our days,
for you are with us in our living and our dying,
Jesus, Lord and God. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Josephine Bakhita: slave and saint

Today is the anniversary of the death of Sister Josephine Bakhita, a Sudanese nun who survived captivity and slavery and was officially recognised as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church in the year 2000. She died on this day in 1947.

She was born in the western Sudanese region of Darfur, where she lived a happy life with her parents and family until the age of seven or eight when she was captured by Arab slave traders, who forced her to walk barefoot over six hundred miles to the city of El Obeid. Over the next twelve years she was bought and sold over five times. She was forcibly converted to Islam.

She later recalled that she was so traumatised by the abduction and the mistreatment, that she forgot her family name. She took the name Bakhita which was a name the slave traders gave her, the Arabic word for “lucky.”

In 1883 in the city of Khartoum she was sold to the Italian Vice Consul, who treated her kindly and respectfully. When he was recalled to Italy in 1885, she begged him to take her with him. At the end of 1888 when her master returned to Sudan she was left in the custody of the Canossian Sisters in Venice.

The sisters introduced her to Christianity and supported her as she pled her case for freedom in the Italian Courts. She was granted her freedom in 1889, was baptised in 1890 and proceeded to join the Canossian Order. In 1902 she was stationed at a Canossian convent in Northern Italy where she would, in addition to participating in the regular life of the convent, spend her time talking about her experiences, and helping to train younger sisters for work in Africa. The townspeople who lived around her were struck by her holiness, her gentle, soothing voice, and her smile. She helped them get through the tumult of the Second World War. Many regarded her as a living saint.

Her final years were marked by pain and suffering, and confinement in a wheelchair. Her legacy is that transformation is possible even through great suffering. On his visit to Sudan in 1993, Pope John Paul II publicly honoured her.

He said: "Rejoice, all of Africa! Bakhita has come back to you. The daughter of Sudan sold into slavery as a living piece of merchandise and yet still free. Free with the freedom of the saints."

Scripture. In "The Second Letter to the Corinthians," chapter twelve, verses nine and ten we read:

"I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for those who are enslaved and for an end to human trafficking and slavery in our world.

... for an end to coerced conversions.

... for those killed or injured in a suicide bombing at Afghanistan's Supreme Court in Kabul. DETAILS

... for the success of the peace talks in Colombia between the government and ELN, a left-wing rebel group. DETAILS

... 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 "Fellowship with God" by William Temple:

We celebrate the resurrection-triumph of incarnate love. We long to share that triumph. But that can only be so if triumphant love is in our souls. And the triumph of love must be over the enemies of love, which are hatred and malice, envy and contempt, suspicion and indifference.

The Easter message proclaims the triumph of love over all of these. But it wins by suffering. If we show love in the face of hatred, we must not expect to overcome the hatred without suffering. It is by its suffering that love prevails; that is the message of Good Friday. But through its suffering it does prevail; that is the message of Easter Day. The Resurrection proclaims that the only real success is that which is in store for those who love, and will practise a chivalry, even a knight-errantry, which to the world must seem grotesque. We are to trust the untrustworthy and love the unlovely, accepting the misery of betrayals and ingratitude, until our constancy in loving and trusting softens and wins the malignant or the suspicious heart. We are to heap up the coals of fire on the head of the unloving, as the blacksmith heaps the glowing coals on the iron bar, till hardness gives place to malleability and we overcome evil with good.

The man who lives thus in our fallen world will suffer; say, rather, the man who did once live thus in our fallen world did suffer. But if we hold fast to him he carries us to the triumph that he himself has won, the triumph of love over hatred and malice, over envy and contempt, over suspicion and indifference even over death, which is love's last enemy because it seems to rob love of its beloved. To such a triumph we look forward. It cannot be completed under the conditions of life upon this planet. But even here it can be tasted. We look forward to a world where mutual trust is universal, where each success or failure wins from all a genuine sympathy in joy or sorrow, where every man and woman, where every society and nation, where every house of business or manufacturing firm, where every branch of the Christian Church, sincerely desires and rejoices at the well-being of every other. But that can only come if those who believe in such an order will live even now as members of it, suffering in this world whatever their loyalty to that heavenly citizenship involves. For it is not in spite of its anguish in this world, but in and through that anguish, that love wins the victory.

CLOSING PRAYER

Almighty God, by the power of your grace, you transformed the cruel sufferings of slavery in Josephine Bakhita, into a life of gentleness, compassion, and prayer. So work in us by that same grace so that we too may experience growth in holiness as we follow your son, Jesus Christ, our saviour and lord.

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.

Comments are closed.