Framework for a Catholic Prayer Service (option 2)
Transform Hate Into Love
Opening Prayer – Becoming Aware of the Presence of God
- In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
- Heavenly Father, we praise you and thank you for giving us the gift of today. Thank you for being so good to us throughout the ups and downs of our lives. Please help us to become more aware of your presence everywhere we look: in the world you created, in the people we meet, and in ourselves. We come before you to pray for greater love in our world and in our hearts. We pray for the grace to learn how to truly listen to and encounter our neighbors and see them with the tenderness and openness with which God sees them.
Scriptural Readings (RSV) – Listening to God’s Word of Love, the Antidote to Hate
- Exodus 23:9 – You shall not oppress a stranger; you know the heart of a stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.
- Leviticus 19:17-18, 33-34 – You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason with your neighbor, lest you bear sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance or bear any grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord. When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. 34 The stranger who sojourns with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.
- Proverbs 22:2 – The rich and the poor meet together; the Lord is the maker of them all.
- Malachi 2:10 – Have we not all one father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our fathers?
- Matthew 7:12 – So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.
- Matthew 22:34-40 – When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they came together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question, to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” And he said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.”
- Acts 10:34-37 – And Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I perceive that God shows no partiality, but in every nation any one who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. You know the word which he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace by Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), the word which was proclaimed throughout all Judea.”
- 1 John 3: 15-18 – Any one who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But if any one has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or speech but in deed and in truth.
- James 1:19 – Know this, my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.
- James 3: 6,9-12 – And the tongue is a fire. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brethren, this ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening fresh water and brackish? Can a fig tree, my brethren, yield olives, or a grapevine figs? No more can salt water yield fresh.
- Ephesians 2:11-22 – Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called the uncircumcision by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands—remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near in the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law of commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby bringing the hostility to an end. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
Intercessions – Handing our Needs Over to God (Each prayer may be followed by a group response, such as “Lord hear our prayer”.
- For an end to all forms of hate in our community, especially prejudice and discrimination.
- That we, as individuals and as a community, may embody Christ’s love in our daily interactions with others and respect the inviolable dignity that belongs to every human being.
- For an increase in charity within the whole Church, that all of her members may strive to conform their lives to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
- For the Pope, that God may guide his steps as he leads the Church in the modern world.
- That all people around the world may live according to the law written on their hearts by God and seek after greater peace and unity.
- Let us pray for any personal intentions we may wish to share.
- For all the intentions we hold in the silence of our hearts.
- We bring all of our needs before God as we pray:
- Our Father…
- Hail Mary…
Forgiving Those Who Have Done Wrong – Mercy and Love as the Path Forward (Each prayer may be followed by a group response, such as “Lord have mercy”.
- For all those around the world and throughout history who have committed grave acts of hatred against another person and lost sight of the dignity of human life.
- For all those in the Church who have lost sight of the wounded another member of Christ’s Mystical Body in any physical, emotional, or spiritual way.
- For all those who have done harm to me personally in any way throughout my own life.
- For all the moments in my life when I have lost sight of the sacredness of my neighbor and failed to love as God desires me to love.
Closing Prayer – Empowered by God to Live in Love
- Heavenly Father, thank you for this time to be in your presence and enter more deeply into the mystery of love. Thank you for making each of us in your image and taking care of us as our Father. Thank you for showing us what it means to truly love by your sacrifice on Calvary. We want to love like you and see other people as you see them. Please empower us with your love and grace to see the sacred dignity in all the people you created and shaped for a purpose. Help us to tear down the barriers which we sometimes place between others out of fear, selfishness, and anger. Please purify our minds and hearts so that we be more free to love and live in the joy and peace which you desire for us.
- In the Name of the Father, and of Son, and of the Holy Spirit.