Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

* Marianella García Villas *


O God, we thank you for this earth, our home; for the wide sky and the blessed sun, for the salt sea and the running water, for the everlasting hills and the never-resting winds, for trees and the common grass underfoot. We thank you for our senses by which we hear the songs of birds, and see the splendour of the summer fields, and taste of the autumn fruits, and rejoice in the feel of the snow, and smell the breath of the spring. Grant us a heart wide open to all this beauty and save our souls from being so blind that we pass unseeing when even the common thorn bush is aflame with your glory, O God our creator, who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

( Walter Rauschenbusch )


Lord, in this your mercy’s day,
before for us it pass away,
on our knees we fall and pray.

Holy Jesus, grant us tears,
fill us with heart searching fears,
before the hour of doom appears.

Lord, on us your Spirit pour,
kneeling lowly at your door,
before it closes forevermore.

By your night of agony,
by your supplicating cry,
by your willingness to die,
by your tears of bitter woe,
for Jerusalem below,
let us not your peace forego.

Judge and saviour of our race,
grant us, when we see your face,
with your ransomed ones a place.
Grant us beneath your wings a place,
lest we lose this day of grace,
before we shall behold your face.

On your love we rest alone,
and that love shall then be known
by the pardoned round your throne.

( Isaac Williams )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Marianela Garcia Villas: martyr for justice in El Salvador

It was the fourteenth of March, 1983, when thirty-four-year-old Marianela García Villas was tortured and killed. This was three years after the assassination of Oscar Romero, the archbishop with whom this young woman had shared battles and hopes.

Born in El Salvador in 1948, a daughter of the rich upper-class, from her teen years Marianela was upset by social injustice in her country. While attending college, where she graduated with a law degree, she joined Catholic Action and trained herself by discussing the Second Vatican Council and the liberation theology movement that had swept through Latin America in the 1970’s.

After college, her passion to seek social justice for the poorest in her society led her into politics in the Christian Democratic Party. In 1974 she entered Parliament thanks to the support of the market women and the suburban mothers and wives who had seen her in court as a lawyer defending their rights. Later she began to visit families living in the more difficult areas. She was already aggravating people in powerful positions. The Christian Democrats marginalised her and she left Parliament in 1976. She founded the Latin- American Human Rights Commission with ties to the United Nations

Marianela began to take pictures with her camera of human rights violations, pictures of dead bodies abandoned on roadsides or found buried after days of searching, bodies devastated by torture. The photos served as a response to the despair of the relatives and to document the truth that public officials tried to deny.

She became civilian victim number forty-three thousand, three hundred and thirty-seven, and for a long time after her assassination the dictatorship continued to refer to her as a subversive guerilla. However, over the years the world has little by little become aware of the young woman’s true story, and the Christian motivation for all that she did.

Scripture. In the eighth chapter of "Ecclesiastes," at verses twelve and thirteen we read:

Though sinners do evil a hundred times and prolong their lives, yet I know that it will be well with those who fear God, because they stand in fear before him, but it will not be well with the wicked, neither will they prolong their days like a shadow, because they do not stand in fear before God.


Let us now call to mind our sin and the infinite mercy of God.

God the Father, have mercy upon us.
God the Son, have mercy upon us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy upon us.
Holy, blessed and glorious Trinity, have mercy upon us.

From all evil and mischief; from pride, vanity, and hypocrisy;
from envy, hatred, and malice; and from all evil intent,
good Lord, deliver us.

From sloth, worldliness and love of money;
from hardness of heart and contempt for your word and your laws,
good Lord, deliver us.

From sins of body and mind;
from the deceits of the world, the flesh and the devil,
good Lord, deliver us.

In all times of sorrow; in all times of joy;
in the hour of death, and at the day of judgement,
good Lord, deliver us.

By the mystery of your holy incarnation;
by your birth, childhood and obedience;
by your baptism, fasting and temptation,
good Lord, deliver us.

By your ministry in word and work;
by your mighty acts of power;
and by your preaching of the kingdom,
good Lord, deliver us.

By your agony and trial;
by your cross and passion;
and by your precious death and burial,
good Lord, deliver us.

By your mighty resurrection;
by your glorious ascension;
and by your sending of the Holy Spirit,
good Lord, deliver us.

Give us true repentance; forgive us our sins of negligence and ignorance and our deliberate sins, and grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit to amend our lives according to your holy word.

Holy God, holy and strong, holy and immortal, have mercy upon us.
Make our hearts clean, O God; and renew a right spirit within us.

We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for those who risk their lives campaigning against tyranny on behalf of the poor and the oppressed.

... that the churches of the world stop putting influence and power before their duty of care.

... for those undergoing dental surgery today.

... for scientists; that their work may make them humble rather than arrogant and full of wonder rather than cynical; that their discoveries may only ever be used for the benefit of humankind.

... for the victims of knife crime and an end to gang culture.

... for animals who are travelling.

... for those who have died recently 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 in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.


From “Mere Christianity" by C. S. Lewis:

Now the whole offer which Christianity makes is this: that we can, if we let God have his way, come to share in the life of Christ. If we do, we shall then be sharing a life which was begotten, not made, which always has existed and always will exist. Christ is the son of God. If we share in this kind of life we also shall be sons of God. We shall love the Father as he does and the Holy Ghost will arise in us. He came to this world and became a man in order to spread to other men the kind of life he has by what I call "good infection." Every Christian is to become a little Christ. The whole purpose of becoming a Christian is simply nothing else.


Look with mercy, gracious God, upon people everywhere who live with injustice, terror, disease, and death, as their constant companions. Rouse us from our complacency and help us follow the example of Marianela Garcia Villas, whose hunger and thirst for justice led her along the way of the cross. Help us, as followers of your son, Jesus Christ, to make no peace with injustice, for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

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


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