Prayers for Peace in the Aftermath of September 11, 2001 by Monica S. Mire
For each of these events in her life, Mary, the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, was confronted with the unexpected. Let us pray and ask Mary to pray with us that as we experience unexpected events in our lives, we will demonstrate our faith in God and in His plan for us; that we will accept the unexpected from God with patience and understanding; and that we respond to the unexpected with a willingness to do His will no matter what the cost.
|The Annunciation: Mother Mary, as a young girl you accepted the news that you would conceive and bear a child, though you did not know man. May all of us accept all of God's children as gifts. We pray that we all might cherish life from conception through death, and that not one of us ever rejoice in the destruction of life through abortion, murder, euthanasia, terrorism, war, or other unnatural circumstances. Mother Mary, we ask you to pray with us that all who participate in or rejoice in these forms of death may come to know God's love and God's will that their hearts be converted by our bringing to them the message of your son, Jesus to love one another.||
In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, "Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you." But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." But Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?" And the angel said to her in reply, "The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God." Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." Then the angel departed from her.
-- Luke 1: 26-38
|The Visitation: The unborn child St. John the Baptist leapt for joy within the womb of his mother, St. Elizabeth, when you, the mother of our Lord Jesus, visited her--your Child still within your own womb. Mother Mary, pray with us that we too will welcome Jesus into our lives with a sense of joy and excitement and reverence. May we never be ashamed of our relationship with you, with your Son, and with Our Father. Dear Mary, more so than for ourselves, we plead for special blessings of the presence of Jesus to come to those whose lives were forever changed by the tragic events of September 11. May the peace of Jesus comfort them in their time of grief and loss. And may our vows never to forget their lost loved ones deliver to them a sense of solidarity and strength.||
During those days Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, "Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled." And Mary said: "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid's lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him. He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy, according to his promise to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever."
|The Nativity: With the birth of Jesus, the world was changed. May we realize that with every new birth and with every new relationship, with every new day, comes the opportunity to love. Mother Mary, we ask you to pray with us, to plead on our behalf, that hearts will change in this world, that people will breed love and not hate help and not harm. We pray that our actions in response to this national tragedy will continue to unite us that through our actions, those who hate us will come to know the redemptive power of God, who stands ready to forgive us all, if only we repent of our wrongs. We pray that as a country, we will deliver to our opponents that which they do not expect of us that is, Jesus Christ the Way, the Truth, and the Life. And Mary, we ask you to deliver to God, Our Father, a message of thanksgiving, for His offering to us, we who are so unworthy, the opportunity of a new beginning through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. May we come to embrace this Sacrament and appreciate its redemptive power.||
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town. And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger." And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests." When the angels went away from them to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us." So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them
-- Luke 2: 1-20
|The Presentation: Mother Mary, when you and Joseph brought eight-day-old Jesus to the Temple for the first time, Simeon revealed to you that your Son was destined to be the rise and fall of many people, that he would face opposition, and that your own soul would be pierced-- a message unlike the one you had received from the angel who announced to you your destiny as Mother of the Son of God--a Son whose reign as king would never end. How terrified you must have been that your dear Son would suffer so greatly. Mary, we ask that you pray with us, that we as a people, shocked and frightened and saddened by the loss of so many and the suffering of countless others whose lives are now forever changed, will have the strength to carry on despite the injuries committed against us. We pray that we and all those whose lives are affected by unexpected tragedy, and especially that those who lost loved ones in the September 11 attack, will realize that God knows their loss-- for He allowed His own Son to be crucified so that we all might have forgiveness and the opportunity for eternal life.||
When the days were completed for their purification 9 according to the law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, "Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord," and to offer the sacrifice of "a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons," in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord. Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Messiah of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying: "Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel." The child's father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem. When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.
|The Finding in the Temple:
Mother Mary, you and Joseph were greatly worried when you discovered
that Jesus was not with you on your return journey from Jerusalem.
You were both perplexed and relieved when you discovered Him in
the Temple, speaking with the elders about His Father. We ask you,
Mary, to pray with us that we all come to a clearer understanding
of God's will in our lives. We pray that we surrender to God so
that through our actions, His will might be done and His peace might
come to all the world. May our hearts be so open to His will that
we recognize and appreciate in others-- in our parents, teachers,
pastors, and leaders-- the loving guidance and discipline and mercy
of our Almighty Father in heaven. And may we grow to become those
parents, teachers, pastors, and leaders whose actions proclaim the
goodness of the Lord to the next generation of believers. For our
current leaders, we ask that the Holy
Spirit descend upon them so that they might make the right decisions during this time of crisis. We are confident that the presence of His Spirit among us and among our leaders will deliver us from evil in all its forms. With thanksgiving, dear Mary, we pray
The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him. Each year his parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, and when he was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom. After they had completed its days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Thinking that he was in the caravan, they journeyed for a day and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances, but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, "Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety." And he said to them, "Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?" But they did not understand what he said to them. He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus advanced (in) wisdom and age and favor before God and man.
The scripture passages are from the NAB.
© Monica S. Mire2001