THURSDAY THE SIXTEENTH OF FEBRUARY, 2017
no one is lost,
no one is left behind,
no one is the price to be paid for the greater good.
Give us the same restless desire,
the same fierce joy,
which finds grace in every child of earth
and makes a community open to all.
We ask this in the name of Jesus,
who loved the world and did not count the cost. Amen.
PSALM FORTY-FOUR ( abridged )
Rise up, O Lord, to help us.
My confusion is daily before me,
and shame has covered my face,
at the taunts of the slanderer and reviler,
at the sight of the enemy and avenger.
All this has come upon us,
though we have not forgotten you
and have not played false to your covenant.
Our hearts have not turned back,
nor our steps gone out of your way,
yet you have crushed us in the haunt of jackals,
and covered us with the shadow of death.
If we have forgotten the name of our God,
or stretched out our hands to any strange god,
will not God search it out?
For he knows the secrets of the heart.
But for your sake are we killed all the day long,
and are counted as sheep for the slaughter.
Rise up! Why sleep, O Lord?
Awake, and do not reject us for ever.
Why do you hide your face
and forget our grief and oppression?
Our soul is bowed down to the dust;
our belly cleaves to the earth.
Rise up, O Lord, to help us
and redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love.
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.
Rise up, O Lord, to help us.
In the darkness of unknowing,
when your love seems absent,
draw near to us, O God,
in Christ forsaken,
in Christ risen,
our Redeemer and our Lord. Amen.
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
Camilo Torres: priest and revolutionary
When the Church is complicit with the government in the subjugation of the poor, what is a priest to do? Such was the conundrum faced by Camilo Torres.
Torres was born in 1929. His parents were wealthy people in the South American nation of Colombia. He was given a good education, became fluent in four languages, and he felt called to become a Roman Catholic priest. He was sent to Europe to study sociology, and upon his return to Colombia, began to teach at the National University of Colombia, where he became involved in trying to organise young people to become involved with the poor, trying to get the church to recognise its social obligations to the poor, and trying to get the government to begin programmes that would really help the poor. His passion for the poor brought him popularity among the students, but the Church was not interested in taking a stand against the government, and so his bishop refused to support him in the face of increasing governmental criticism of his views. Increasingly he turned to the Marxists. He felt that they offered the best hope for the poor. He tried to reconcile his Catholic faith with their revolutionary ideals.
He wrote: “Analysing Colombian society I have come to realise that the country needs a revolution in order to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked and provide well-being for the majority of our people. I believe that the revolutionary struggle is a Christian struggle, and a priestly one. Indeed, in the present specific conditions of Colombia, participation in that struggle is the only way people can show love for their neighbours as they should.”
He resigned his priesthood and joined the National Liberation Army. He trained with them. Torres was only with the guerrillas about three months. He had trained with them, was given a pistol, and was told that he had to earn the right to carry a rifle. He insisted on going on a planned ambush. As one of the soldiers who were the victims of the ambush was brought down, Torres left his cover to retrieve the coveted rifle of the dead soldier. As he reached down to pick it up, he was shot in the shoulder; and as he tried to crawl away he was mortally shot again. Two of his comrades tried to rescue him and both of them were also shot down. Camilo Torres was killed on his first combat mission with the guerillas. It was the fifteenth ofFebruary, 1966.
Quote: “I am a revolutionary as a Colombian, as a sociologist, as a Christian, and as a priest. As a Colombian, because I cannot be a stranger to my people’s battles. As a Sociologist, because, thanks to the scientific knowledge which I have of reality, I have arrived at the realisations that technical and effective solutions will not be obtained without a revolution. As a Christian, because the essence of Christianity is love of neighbour and only through the revolution can the welfare of the majority be obtained. As a Priest, because the surrender of oneself to one’s neighbour, which the revolution demands, is a requisite of fraternal charity; it is indispensable for offering the sacrifice of the Mass, which is not an individual offering, but that of the entire people of God through the intercession of Christ.”
Scripture. In "Psalm Thirty-Four," verses five to seven we read:
"I sought the Lord and he answered me; from all my terrors he set me free. Look towards him and be radiant; let your faces not be abashed. This poor man called, the Lord heard him and rescued him from all his distress."
... for peace in the world.
... for a Church that stands up for the poor, the oppressed, the discriminated against rather than a Church that places its own security and privileges before all else.
... for the people of Lithuania who are celebrating their national day today.
... for the people of Christchurch, New Zealand, especially those who have evacuated their homes because of encroaching wildfires.
... for those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after experiencing the horror of war.
... for those awaiting the results of medical tests.
... for children who are being sexually exploited.
... for Christians who are gay.
... for the frail and elderly.
... 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.
From "Fellowship with God" by William Temple:
We are called to be a holy nation, a royal priesthood, a kingdom and priests unto our God; we are required not merely to fulfil the obligations of average good citizenship, but to let men see in our characters the result of trusting God. Especially are we called to the offering of the true sacrifice.
All down the ages man has felt an instinct that prompted him to offer sacrifices to his God. It was a crude and horrible ritual in the early days. But it was very early realised that the spiritual value of it lay in the dedication of life which it symbolised, and the fellowship with God resulting from that dedication. There the worshipper brought his victim; the victim was slain; the blood, representing life, was offered by the priest. But the law had only a shadow of the good things to come, not the very image of those things. It "was impossible that the dedicated life of bulls and goats should take away sins"; but "Christ has entered into the holy place," the presence and fellowship of the eternal God," not through the dedicated life of goats and calves, but through his own dedicated life, having obtained eternal redemption." In place of the "sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin" is set the reality of which these are
only the symbols. "Lo, I am come to do thy will, God."
In the one true sacrifice, Christ is both priest and victim. But that is only to say that the one true sacrifice is self-sacrifice. It is exactly this truth which our Lord has enshrined in the sacrifice that he has bidden us perpetually to offer.
Holy God, grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and to make no peace with oppression. Help us, like your servant Camilo Torres, to work for justice for the poor, to the glory of your holy name; 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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