Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

* Bartolomé de las Casas *


Hallowed be your name, O God. Supported by faith in you, I shall stand steadfast and secure under every cross, tribulation, distress, disease, and even death itself; nothing doubting either your divine power or your fatherly love whereby you are both able and willing to preserve me. Call me hence whensoever you will, but grant that I may follow cheerfully, firmly believing that you are mighty and good; then shall your loving Spirit lead me forth into the land of uprightness. Your will will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. And what is your will, O most loving Father, except that I should love you? Behold, you command that I should love you with all my heart and soul, with all my mind and strength; but grant to me what you command, and command what you will. Amen.


Remember the marvels the Lord has done.

O give thanks to the Lord and call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples.
Sing to him, sing praises,
and tell of all his marvellous works.
Rejoice in the praise of his holy name;
let the hearts of them rejoice who seek the Lord.
Seek the Lord and his strength;
seek his face continually.

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.

Remember the marvels the Lord has done.

God of our earthly pilgrimage,
feed your Easter people with the bread of heaven,
that we may hunger and thirst for righteousness
until we reach our promised land;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Bartolomé de las Casas, fighter for justice

Today Saint Laika’s remembers Bartolomé de Las Casas, a Spanish Dominican priest, who was a fierce advocate for justice and an end to the enslavement of native peoples in north and central America.

Bartolomé de Las Casas was born in Seville, Spain, in 1474. In 1502 he went to Cuba, and for his military services there was given an estate that included the services of the Indians living on it. In about 1513 he was ordained priest (probably the first ordination in the Americas), and in 1514 he renounced all claim on his Indian serfs.

During the following seven years he made several voyages to Spain to find support for a series of new towns in which Spaniard and Indian would live together in peace and equality. In 1523 he became a Dominican friar and disappeared for a time from public controversy. In 1540 he returned to Spain and was a force behind the passage in 1542 of laws prohibiting Indian slavery and safeguarding the rights of the Indians. He was made Bishop of Chiapas in Guatemala, and returned to the Americas in 1544 to implement the new laws, but he met considerable resistance, and in 1547 he returned to Spain, where he devoted the rest of his life to speaking and writing on behalf of the Indians.

De las Casas is widely admired as an early pioneer of social justice, He died in Madrid on the seventeenth of July 1566, and is remembered as a national hero in Cuba and Nicaragua.

Scripture. In the "Book of Isaiah," chapter fifty-eight, verses six and seven, we read:

"Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin?"


We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for the indigenous peoples of the world; for all who's way of life has been destroyed by the invasion of a foreign culture.

... for an end to slavery of all kinds.

... for the people of South Africa on this the day of Nelson Mandela's birth; that his vision of harmony and justice in his land should not be eclipsed by political corruption and graft.

... for those in hospital because of mental illness.

... 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.


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 "A Brief Account of the Destruction of the Indies" by Bartolomé de Las Casas:

As to the firm land, we are certainly satisfied, and assured, that the Spaniards by their barbarous and execrable actions have absolutely depopulated ten kingdoms, of greater extent than all Spain together with the kingdoms of Aragon and Portugal, that is to say, above one thousand miles, which now lie waste and desolate, and are absolutely ruined, when as formerly no other country whatsoever was more populous. Nay we dare boldly affirm, that during the forty years space, wherein they exercised their sanguinary and detestable tyranny in these regions, above twelve millions (computing men, women and children) have undeservedly perished; nor do I conceive that I should deviate from the truth by saying that above fifty millions in all paid their last debt to nature.

Those that arrived at these islands from the remotest parts of Spain, and who pride themselves in the name of Christians, steered two courses principally, in order to the extirpation and exterminating of this people from the face of the Earth. The first whereof was raising an unjust, sanguinolent, cruel war. The other, by putting them to death, who hitherto, thirsted after their liberty or designed (which the most potent, strenuous and magnanimous spirits intended) to recover their pristine freedom, and shake off the shackles of so injurious a captivity.

Now the ultimate end and scope that incited the Spaniards to endeavour the extirpation and desolation of this people, was gold only; that thereby growing opulent in a short time, they might arrive at once at such degrees and dignities, as were no ways consistent with their persons.

Finally, in one word, their ambition and avarice, than which the heart of man never entertained greater, and the vast wealth of those regions; the humility and patience of the inhabitants (which made their approach to these lands more facilitated and easy) did much promote the business: whom they so despicably contemned, that they treated them (I speak of things which I was an eye witness of, without the least fallacy) not as beasts, which I cordially wished they would, but as the most abject dung and filth of the Earth; and so sollicitous they were of their life and soul, that the above-mentioned number of people died without understanding the true faith or sacraments. And this also is as really true as the praecendent narration (which the very tyrants and cruel murderers cannot deny without the stigma of a lie) that the Spaniards never received any injury from the Indians, but that they rather reverenced them as persons descended from Heaven, until that they were compelled to take up arms, provoked thereunto by repeated injuries, violent torments, and unjust butcheries.

The Spaniards first set sail to America, not for the honour of God, or as persons moved and merited thereunto by servant zeal to the true faith, nor to promote the salvation of their neighbours, nor to serve the king, as they falsely boast and pretend to do, but in truth, only stimulated and goaded on by insatiable avarice and ambition, that they might for ever domineer, command and tyrannise over the West Indians, whose kingdoms they hoped to divide and distribute among themselves.


Eternal God, we give you thanks for the witness of Bartolomé de las Casas, whose deep love for your people caused him to refuse absolution to those who would not free their Indian slaves. Help us, inspired by his example, to work and pray for the freeing of all enslaved people of our world, for the sake of Jesus Christ our redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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


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