Week 4: Option for the Poor and Vulnerable

This week, we pray especially for those who feel abandoned, alone, or unloved, that they know the love of Jesus through our loving care for them. We also pray that every immigrant and alien be treated with dignity as a beloved child of God.

Catechism of the Catholic Church:

2443God blesses those who come to the aid of the poor and rebukes those who turn away from them: "Give to him who begs from you, do not refuse him who would borrow from you"; "you received without pay, give without pay." It is by what they have done for the poor that Jesus Christ will recognize his chosen ones. When "the poor have the good news preached to them," it is the sign of Christ's presence.

2444 "The Church's love for the poor . . . is a part of her constant tradition." This love is inspired by the Gospel of the Beatitudes, of the poverty of Jesus, and of his concern for the poor. Love for the poor is even one of the motives for the duty of working so as to "be able to give to those in need." It extends not only to material poverty but also to the many forms of cultural and religious poverty.

2447 - The works of mercy are charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbor in his spiritual and bodily necessities.242 Instructing, advising, consoling, comforting are spiritual works of mercy, as are forgiving and bearing wrongs patiently. The corporal works of mercy consist especially in feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and burying the dead.243 Among all these, giving alms to the poor is one of the chief witnesses to fraternal charity: it is also a work of justice pleasing to God:244

Scripture:
                                                                                              Ephesians 5:8-10

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.
Live as children of light, for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth.
Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.

From Pope Francis:
“God wants us all to see one another as brothers and to live as such, forming a great human family that is harmonious in its diversity."
- February 1, 2017

"Everyone can help bring about a culture of mercy, in which no one looks at another with indifference." - January 11, 2017


United States Council of Catholic Bishops:
A basic moral test is how our most vulnerable members are faring. In a society marred by deepening divisions between rich and poor, our tradition recalls the story of the Last Judgment (Mt 25:31-46) and instructs us to put the needs of the poor and vulnerable first.


Copyright 2005, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Washington, D.C. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright holder. Publication No. 5-315 USCCB Communications Washington, D.C. ISBN 1-57455-315-1 1 Paul VI, For the Celebration of the Day of Peace. . . (Rome: January 1, 1972). Text is drawn from Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions(Washington, DC: USCCB, 1998) and Faithful Citizenship: A Catholic Call to Political Responsibility (Washington, DC: USCCB, 2003).


Week 3: Solidarity

This week we pray that people of every race and culture seek to understand those who are different from themselves.

Catechism of the Catholic Church:
1940 - Solidarity is manifested in the first place by the distribution of goods and remuneration for work. It also presupposes the effort for a more just social order where tensions are better able to be reduced and conflicts more readily settled by negotiation.

1941 - Socio-economic problems can be resolved only with the help of all the forms of solidarity: solidarity of the poor among themselves, between rich and poor, of workers among themselves, between employers and employees in a business, solidarity among nations and peoples. International solidarity is a requirement of the moral order; world peace depends in part upon this.

1942- The virtue of solidarity goes beyond material goods. In spreading the spiritual goods of the faith, the Church has promoted, and often opened new paths for, the development of temporal goods as well. And so throughout the centuries has the Lord's saying been verified: "Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well"2428 - In work, the person exercises and fulfills in part the potential inscribed in his nature. The primordial value of labor stems from man himself, its author and its beneficiary. Work is for man, not man for work, Pope John Paul II, On Human work (Laborem Exercens), 6. Everyone should be able to draw from work the means of providing for his life and that of his family, and of serving the human community.

2433 - Access to employment and to professions must be open to all without unjust discrimination: men and women, healthy and disabled, natives and immigrants, Pope John Paul II, On Human work (Laborem Exercens),19; 22-23.  For its part society should, according to circumstances, help citizens find work and employment, Centesimus annus, 49.

Scripture:
                                                                                              Romans 5:6-8

For Christ, while we were still helpless, 
died at the appointed time for the ungodly.
Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person, 
though perhaps for a good person one might even find courage to die.
But God proves his love for us
in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.

From Pope Francis:
“I express my solidarity with migrants around the world and thank all those who help them: welcoming others means welcoming God in person!" - December 18, 2016

"We oppose hatred and destruction with goodness. We live in societies of different cultures and religions, but we are brothers and sisters." - August 7, 2016

United States Council of Catholic Bishops:
We are one human family whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differences. We are our brothers and sisters keepers, wherever they may be. Loving our neighbor has global dimensions in a shrinking world. At the core of the virtue of solidarity is the pursuit of justice and peace. Pope Paul VI taught that if you want peace, work for justice. The Gospel calls us to be peacemakers. Our love for all our sisters and brothers demands that we promote peace in a world surrounded by violence and conflict.

Copyright 2005, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Washington, D.C. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright holder. Publication No. 5-315 USCCB Communications Washington, D.C. ISBN 1-57455-315-1 1 Paul VI, For the Celebration of the Day of Peace. . . (Rome: January 1, 1972). Text is drawn from Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions(Washington, DC: USCCB, 1998) and Faithful Citizenship: A Catholic Call to Political Responsibility (Washington, DC: USCCB, 2003).

Week 2: Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers

This week we pray especially for the working poor, the unemployed, and the underemployed, for a living wage, good medical care, and a safe environment. We also pray that nations and states ensure fair labor laws, safe working conditions, and just pay for workers.

Catechism of the Catholic Church:
2428 - In work, the person exercises and fulfills in part the potential inscribed in his nature. The primordial value of labor stems from man himself, its author and its beneficiary. Work is for man, not man for work, Pope John Paul II, On Human work (Laborem Exercens), 6. Everyone should be able to draw from work the means of providing for his life and that of his family, and of serving the human community.

2433 - Access to employment and to professions must be open to all without unjust discrimination: men and women, healthy and disabled, natives and immigrants, Pope John Paul II, On Human work (Laborem Exercens),19; 22-23.  For its part society should, according to circumstances, help citizens find work and employment, Centesimus annus, 49.

Scripture:
                                                                                              Genesis 12:1-4A

The LORD said to Abram: 
"Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk and from your father's house to a land that I will show you.

"I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you;
I will make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you.
All the communities of the earth shall find blessing in you."

Abram went as the LORD directed him.

From Pope Francis:
“Let us all work decisively so that no one is excluded from the effective recognition of their fundamental human rights.” – December 10, 2016

“There can be no true peace if everyone claims always and exclusively his or her own rights, without caring for the good of others.”
– January 9, 2017

“In the world of work today it is essential to educate and follow the luminous and demanding path of honesty.” - July 1, 2016

United States Council of Catholic Bishops:
The economy must serve people, not the other way around. Work is more than a way to make a living; it is a form of continuing participation in God’s creation. If the dignity of work is to be protected, then the basic rights of workers must be respected--the right to productive work, to decent and fair wages, to the organization and joining of unions, to private property, and to economic initiative.

Copyright 2005, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Washington, D.C. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright holder. Publication No. 5-315 USCCB Communications Washington, D.C. ISBN 1-57455-315-1 1 Paul VI, For the Celebration of the Day of Peace. . . (Rome: January 1, 1972). Text is drawn from Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions(Washington, DC: USCCB, 1998) and Faithful Citizenship: A Catholic Call to Political Responsibility (Washington, DC: USCCB, 2003).

Week One:    Care for God's Creation

This week we pray especially for clean water and clean air, for renewable resources and careful stewardship.

Catechism of the Catholic Church:
341 - The beauty of the universe: The order and harmony of the created world results from the diversity of beings and from the relationships which exist among them. Man discovers them progressively as the laws of nature. They call forth the admiration of scholars. The beauty of creation reflects the infinite beauty of the Creator and ought to inspire the respect and submission of man's intellect and will.

353 - God willed the diversity of his creatures and their own particular goodness, their interdependence and their order. He destined all material creatures for the good of the human race. Man, and through him all creation, is destined for the glory of God.

354 - Respect for laws inscribed in creation and the relations which derive from the nature of things is a principle of wisdom and a foundation for morality.

2415 - The seventh commandment enjoins respect for the integrity of creation. Animals, like plants and inanimate beings, are by nature destined for the common good of past, present, and future humanity. Use of the mineral, vegetable, and animal resources of the universe cannot be divorced from respect for moral imperatives. Man's dominion over inanimate and other living beings granted by the Creator is not absolute; it is limited by concern for the quality of life of his neighbor, including generations to come; it requires a religious respect for the integrity of creation.

Scripture:

Genesis 2:7-9
Then the Lord God formed the man out of the dust of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. The Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and placed there the man whom he had formed. 
Out of the ground the Lord God made grow every tree that was delightful to look at and good for food,
with the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

From Pope Francis:
“God gave us the earth ‘to till and to keep’ in a balanced and respectful way.” - September 1, 2016
More than a scientific question, the universe is a joyful mystery that speaks of God’s boundless love for us.” - June 18, 2016
“Let us protect the oceans, part of the ‘global commons,’ vital for our water supply and the variety of living creatures!” - June 8, 2016

United States Council of Catholic Bishops:
We show our respect for the Creator by our  stewardship of creation. Care for the earth is not just an Earth Day slogan, it is a requirement of our faith. We are called to protect people and the planet, living our faith in relationship with all of God’s creation. This environmental challenge has fundamental moral and ethical dimensions that cannot be ignored.

Copyright 2005, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Washington, D.C. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright holder. Publication No. 5-315 USCCB Communications Washington, D.C. ISBN 1-57455-315-1 1 Paul VI, For the Celebration of the Day of Peace. . . (Rome: January 1, 1972). Text is drawn from Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions(Washington, DC: USCCB, 1998) and Faithful Citizenship: A Catholic Call to Political Responsibility (Washington, DC: USCCB, 2003).