Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

THURSDAY THE TWENTY-THIRD OF MARCH, 2017
* Paul Couturier *

OPENING PRAYER

O God, the Father of our lord Jesus Christ,
our only saviour, the prince of peace:
give us grace seriously to lay to heart
the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions.
Take away all hatred and prejudice,
and whatever else may hinder us
from godly union and concord;
that, as there is but one body and one Spirit,
one hope of our calling,
one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
one God and father of us all,
so we may henceforth be all of one heart and of one soul,
united in one holy bond of peace, of faith and charity,
and may with one mind and one mouth glorify you;
through Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.

PSALM SIXTY-THREE ( abridged )

My soul is athirst for God, even for the living God.

O God, you are my God; eagerly I seek you;
my soul is athirst for you.
My flesh also faints for you,
as in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.
So would I gaze upon you in your holy place,
that I might behold your power and your glory.

Your loving-kindness is better than life itself
and so my lips shall praise you.
I will bless you as long as I live
and lift up my hands in your name.

My soul shall be satisfied, as with marrow and fatness,
and my mouth shall praise you with joyful lips,
when I remember you upon my bed
and meditate on you in the watches of the night.
For you have been my helper
and under the shadow of your wings will I rejoice.

My soul clings to you;
your right hand shall hold me fast.

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.

My soul is athirst for God, even for the living God.

To you we come, radiant lord,
the goal of all our desiring,
beyond all earthly beauty;
gentle protector, strong deliverer,
in the night you are our confidence;
from first light be our joy;
through Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Paul Couturier: pioneer ecumenist, founder of the Dombes Group

Today Saint Laika’s remembers Paul Couturier, a French Roman Catholic priest, who promoted the idea of Christianity and worked tirelessly to improve relationships among Christians and to seek a better understanding of the life and religious practice of all the world’s religions.

In the 1920s Father Couturier worked with the thousands of Russian refugees and became acquainted with their Russian Orthodox spiritual heritage. Later, in 1932, when he was with the Benedictine Monks of Unity, he became acquainted with the work of Cardinal Mercier who was just beginning to explore what we know today as ecumenism. In 1933, he established a triduum for Christian unity at Lyon, which later became an octave in 1934, extending from the feast of the Chair of Saint Peter to the feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul. This was an outgrowth from the Octave for Church Unity which had been established by two Anglicans in 1908. However that emphasis always had associated with it a notion that for true unity among Christians, all must return to the Roman Catholic Church. Couturier sought a deeper unity among Christians and specifically offered his octave for the unity of any and all baptised into the Christian faith, including Orthodox, Anglican, and other Christian groups. Beginning in 1939, its name was changed to the "Universal Week of Prayer for Christian Unity".

He founded the Dombes Group in 1937, an unofficial gathering of twenty Roman Catholic and twenty Protestant theologians that has met regularly since then in a small monastery near Lyon, France. It is not just a mere theological gathering but a "spiritual" approach to ecumenism. Aside from the discussion of doctrinal matters, it also includes common prayer and the "call to conversion" addressed to the churches. They have often been the leaders in seeing past divisive issues that seemed to be conversation stoppers.

He died on this day in 1953.

Scripture. In the seventeenth chapter of "John," we hear Jesus’ great prayer for unity, in verses twenty and twenty-one:

"I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me."

INTERCESSIONS

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for Christian unity between the different churches of the world and for those who work to tear down the barriers that divide Christians.

... for meteorologists. DETAILS

... for the people of Pakistan who celebrate their national day today.

... for those killed or injured in the terrorist attack at Westminster, England, yesterday.

... for those killed or injured in an air strike on a school in a village west of the Islamic State-held Syrian city of Raqqa on Monday. 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 "The Testament of Cardinal Mercier":

In order to be united, it is necessary to love another; in order to love one another it is necessary to know one another; in order to know one another we must go to meet one another.

CLOSING PRAYER

Holy God we honour the life and witness of your servant Paul Couturier, who dedicated his life to the deeper unity of Christians with each other. Make all Christians one in Christ as he is one with you, so we may carry to the world the message of your love, revealed in Jesus Christ, your son, 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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