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St. Bonaventure

Today, July 15, marks the feast day of St. Bonaventure, who is called “The Seraphic Doctor� of the Church. St. Bonaventure is known for his leadership of the Franciscans and his great intellectual contributions to theology and philosophy.St. Bonaventure was born in Bagnorea in Tuscany, Italy. He is widely believed to have been born in the year 1221, although some accounts say 1217.Sources recount that in his youth, St. Bonaventure was cured of a dangerous illness by the intercession of St. Francis of Assisi. He went on to join the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor in 1243. After making his vows, he was sent to complete his studies in Paris. He was taught first by Alexander of Hales, an English doctor and Franciscan, and later by John of Rochelle. While in Paris, he became good friends with St. Thomas Aquinas, with whom he received the degree of Doctor. He also developed a friendship with St. Louis, King of France.In 1257, St. Bonaventure was chosen to serve as the superior of the Friars Minor. In this position, which he filled for 17 years, he brought peace and order. His impact was so great that today he is sometimes referred to as the second founder of the Franciscans.Taking on the position after a period of extraordinary expansion for the order, St. Bonaventure worked to preserve a spirit of unity. He calmed the threat of internal dissension that arose over differences in interpreting the message of St. Francis of Assisi. Central to this work was his understanding that the study of philosophy and theology did not oppose the call to poverty that was so central to Franciscan spirituality.St. Bonaventure proposed a unified and collected text regulating the daily life of the Friars Minor. The text was accepted and ratified in 1260 by the General Chapter of the Order in Narbonne.Wishing to present an authentic image of the life and teaching of their founder, he zealously collected documents about St. Francis of Assisi and heard testimonies of those who had actually known him. From this information, he compiled a biography of the saint that was adopted as his official biography by the General Chapter of the Friars Minor in 1263.St. Bonaventure also wrote numerous mystical and ascetical treatises, most famously, “The Soul's Journey into God.�In 1273, he was appointed by Pope Gregory X as Cardinal and Bishop of Albano. The Pope also asked him to help prepare the Second Ecumenical Council of Lyons, an ecclesial event aimed at re-establishing communion between the Latin and Greek Churches. St. Bonaventure worked to prepare the Ecumenical Council, but never saw its completion. He died on July 15, 1274, while the council was still in session. He was canonized in 1482 by Pope Sixtus IV.In his General Audience on March 3, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI spoke about the life of St. Bonaventure. He called to mind the great works of literature, art, philosophy and theology that were inspired by the Christian faith during the time period in which the saint lived. “Among the great Christian figures who contributed to the composition of this harmony between faith and culture Bonaventure stands out, a man of action and contemplation, of profound piety and prudent government,� Pope Benedict said.The Pope called on the faithful to take note of “the central role that Christ always played in Bonaventure's life and teaching,� and to imitate the way in which “the whole of his thinking was profoundly Christocentric.� "Meditation on Christ in His humanity is corporeal in deed, in fact, but spiritual in mind. . . . By adopting this habit, you will steady your mind, be trained to virtues, and receive strength of soul....Let meditation of Christ's life be your one and only aim, your rest, your food, your desire, your study."  -  St. Bonaventure

A Prayer for Veterans Day

God of mercy we ask for blessings on all those who have served their country in the armed forces.

We ask for healing for the veterans who have been wounded, in body and soul, in conflicts around the globe.

We pray especially for the young men and women, in the thousands, who are coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan with injured bodies and traumatized spirits. Bring solace to them, O Lord. May we pray for them when they cannot pray.

Have mercy on all our veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Bring peace to their hearts and peace to the regions they fought in.

Bless all the soldiers who served in noncombative posts. May their calling to serve continue in their lives in many positive ways.

Give us all here present today creative vision to see a world that, growing weary with fighting, moves to affirming the life of every human being and so moves beyond war.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Jesus, I trust in You!

Prayer to Unleash the Gospel

God our Father, you have called us
to be witnesses to Jesus
and have commissioned us to lead
all people to encounter him.

Send your Holy Spirit
to enlighten our minds
so that your will may be clear to us and that we may accept it.

Dwell within our souls
and make our hearts your own.

Transform us into a band of
joyful missionary disciples
embracing the fruits of Synod 16
so as to share the good news
of Jesus Christ in Southeastern Michigan
through joyful
evangelization and service.

Come, Holy Spirit,
fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle
in them the fire of your love. Amen.

Saint Anne, pray for us.

Intercessions for a Time of Tragedy

For those who have died as victims of violence, for this we pray;
Lord, Hear our prayer.

For the families who suffer as the result of the death of their loved ones, for this we pray;
Lord, Hear our prayer.

For the friends of the dead who mourn their passing, for this we pray;
Lord, Hear our prayer.

For recovery of the wounded, for this we pray;
Lord, Hear our prayer.

For all people to respect the sancitity of all life, for this we pray;
Lord, Hear our prayer.

For an end to movies and games glorifying violence, for this we pray;
Lord, Hear our prayer.

For an end to senseless hatred among people, for this we pray;
Lord, Hear our prayer.

For an end to divisions among all people, for this we pray;
Lord, Hear our prayer.

For understanding and tolerance among all people, for this we pray;
Lord, Hear our prayer.

For peace in a troubled world, for this we pray;
Lord, Hear our prayer.

For the loving grace of God to be poured out on all who suffer, for this we pray;
Lord, Hear our prayer.

Let us sum up our petitions in the words that our Savior taught us;
Our Father...

A Step Along the Way

It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.

The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work. Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.

No statement says all that could be said.

No prayer fully expresses our faith.

No confession brings perfection.

No pastoral visit brings wholeness.

No program accomplishes the Church's mission.

No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about.

We plant the seeds that one day will grow.

We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.

We lay foundations that will need further development.

We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.

This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.

It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.

We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.

We are prophets of a future not our own.

# # #

The above prayer, commonly attributed to Blessed Oscar Romero, was actually written by Bishop Ken Untener for a homily by John Cardinal Dearden given in 1979.

Prayer of Pope Francis for the Jubilee of Mercy

Lord Jesus Christ,
you have taught us to be merciful like the heavenly Father,
and have told us that whoever sees you sees Him.
Show us your face and we will be saved.
Your loving gaze freed Zacchaeus and Matthew from being enslaved by money;
the adulteress and Magdalene from seeking happiness only in created things;
made Peter weep after his betrayal,
and assured Paradise to the repentant thief.
Let us hear, as if addressed to each one of us, the words that you spoke to the Samaritan woman:
“If you knew the gift of God!”

You are the visible face of the invisible Father,
of the God who manifests his power above all by forgiveness and mercy:
let the Church be your visible face in the world, its Lord risen and glorified.
You willed that your ministers would also be clothed in weakness
in order that they may feel compassion for those in ignorance and error:
let everyone who approaches them feel sought after, loved, and forgiven by God

Send your Spirit and consecrate every one of us with its anointing,
so that the Jubilee of Mercy may be a year of grace from the Lord,
and your Church, with renewed enthusiasm, may bring good news to the poor,
proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed,
and restore sight to the blind.

We ask this of you, Lord Jesus, through the intercession of Mary, Mother of
Mercy; you who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and
ever.
Amen.

Joy of the Gospel Prayer

Mary, Virgin and Mother,
you who, moved by the Holy Spirit,
welcomed the word of life
in the depths of your humble faith:
as you gave yourself completely to the Eternal One,
help us to say our own “yes”
to the urgent call, as pressing as ever,
to proclaim the good news of Jesus.

Filled with Christ’s presence,
you brought joy to John the Baptist,
making him exult in the womb of his mother.
Brimming over with joy,
you sang of the great things done by God.
Standing at the foot of the cross
with unyielding faith,
you received the joyful comfort of the resurrection,
and joined the disciples in awaiting the Spirit
so that the evangelizing Church might be born.

Obtain for us now a new ardour born of the resurrection,
that we may bring to all the Gospel of life
which triumphs over death.
Give us a holy courage to seek new paths,
that the gift of unfading beauty
may reach every man and woman.

Virgin of listening and contemplation,
Mother of love, Bride of the eternal wedding feast,
pray for the Church, whose pure icon you are,
that she may never be closed in on herself
or lose her passion for establishing God’s kingdom.

Star of the new evangelization,
help us to bear radiant witness to communion,
service, ardent and generous faith,
justice and love of the poor,
that the joy of the Gospel
may reach to the ends of the earth,
illuminating even the fringes of our world.

Mother of the living Gospel,
wellspring of happiness for God’s little ones,
pray for us.

Amen. Alleluia!

A Christian Prayer in Union with Creation

Father, we praise you with all your creatures.
They came forth from your all-powerful hand;
they are yours, filled with your presence and your tender love.
Praise be to you!
Son of God, Jesus,
through you all things were made.
You were formed in the womb of Mary our Mother,
you became part of this earth,
and you gazed upon this world with human eyes.
Today you are alive in every creature
in your risen glory.
Praise be to you!
Holy Spirit, by your light
you guide this world towards the Father’s love
and accompany creation as it groans in travail.
You also dwell in our hearts
and you inspire us to do what is good.
Praise be to you!
Triune Lord, wondrous community of infinite love,
teach us to contemplate you
in the beauty of the universe,
for all things speak of you.
Awaken our praise and thankfulness
for every being that you have made.
Give us the grace to feel profoundly joined
to everything that is.
God of love, show us our place in this world
as channels of your love
for all the creatures of this earth,
for not one of them is forgotten in your sight.
Enlighten those who possess power and money
that they may avoid the sin of indifference,
that they may love the common good, advance the weak,
and care for this world in which we live.
The poor and the earth are crying out.
O Lord, seize us with your power and light,
help us to protect all life,
to prepare for a better future,
for the coming of your Kingdom
of justice, peace, love and beauty.
Praise be to you! Amen.

- From Pope Francis's encyclical, Laudato Si'

A Prayer for Our Earth

All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe
and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love,
hat we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace, that we may live
as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth,
so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts
of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united
with every creature
as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle
for justice, love and peace. Amen.

- From Pope Francis's encyclical, Laudato Si'

Prayer to the Holy Family for the Synod

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
in you we contemplate
the splendor of true love,
to you we turn with trust.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
grant that our families too
may be places of communion and prayer,
authentic schools of the Gospel
and small domestic Churches.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
may families never again
experience violence, rejection and division:
may all who have been hurt or scandalized
find ready comfort and healing.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
may the approaching Synod of Bishopsmake us once more mindful
of the sacredness and inviolability of the family,
and its beauty in God’s plan.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
graciously hear our prayer.

Amen