This prayer was prepared by MJD Spain during the meeting: “Gender equality, a reality in our Church? We suggest you do it with your group.
Duration: approximately 60 minutes
* At the entrance, each participant id given a small pot with soil, as well as some small pieces of paper where they can write down their reflections.
The pencils will be in the center of the room, in different piles.
We will have some branches/tree in the center of the circle.
FIRST PART OF THE PRAYER
Text 1: Jdt 8, 9-17
Hearing how the water shortage had demoralised the people and how they had complained bitterly to the headman of the town, and being also told what Uzziah had said to them and how he had given them his oath to surrender the town to the Assyrians in five days’ time,
Judith immediately sent the serving-woman who ran her household to summon Chabris and Charmis, two elders of the town.
When these came in she said: ‘Listen to me, leaders of the people of Bethulia. You were wrong to speak to the people as you did today and to bind yourself by oath, in defiance of God, to surrender the town to our enemies if the Lord did not come to your help within a set number of days.
Who are you, to put God to the test today, you, of all people, to set yourselves above him?
You put the Lord Almighty to the test! You do not understand anything, and never will.
If you cannot sound the depths of the human heart or unravel the arguments of the human mind, how can you fathom the God who made all things, or sound his mind or unravel his purposes? No, brothers, do not provoke the anger of the Lordour God.
Although it may not be his will to help us within the next five days, he has the power to protect us for as many days as he pleases, just as he has the power to destroy us before our enemies.
Text 2: John 8, 1-11
And Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
At daybreak he appeared in the Temple again; and as all the people came to him, he sat down and began to teach them.
El scribes and Pharisees brought a woman along who had been caught committing adultery; and making her stand there in the middle they said to Jesus, ‘Master, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery, and in the Law Moses has ordered us to stone women of this kind. What have you got to say?’
They asked him this as a test, looking for an accusation to use against him. But Jesus bent down and started writing on the ground with his finger. As they persisted with their question, he straightened up and said, ‘Let the one among you who is guiltless be the first to throw a stone at her.’
Then he bent down and continued writing on the ground. When they heard this they went away one by one, beginning with the eldest, until the last one had gone and Jesus was left alone with the woman, who remained in the middle.
Jesus again straightened up and said, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’
‘No one, sir,’ she replied. ‘Neither do I condemn you,’ said Jesus. ‘Go away, and from this moment sin no more.’
STORY: “A rug puppet said”:
If for a moment God were to forget that I am a puppet of a rag, and give me a piece of life, possibly I wouldn’t say everything I think, but, in short, I would think everything I say. I would give value to things, not for what they are worth, but for what they mean. I would sleep little and dream more, I understand that for every minute we close our eyes, we lose sixty seconds of light.
I would walk when the others stop, I would wake up when the others sleep, I would listen while the others talk, and how I would enjoy a good chocolate ice cream…! If God were to give me a piece of life, I would dress simply, I would throw myself face to face in the sun, exposing not only my body, but also my soul.
My God, if I had a heart…I would write my hatred on ice, and wait for the sun to rise. I would paint a Benedetti poem with a Van Gogh dream about the stars, and a Serrat song would be the serenade I would offer to the moon. I would water the roses with my tears, to feel the pain of their thorns, and the incarnated kiss of their petals…
My God, if I had a piece of life… I wouldn’t let a day go by without telling people that I love them, that I love them. I would live in love. I would prove to men how wrong they are to think that they stop falling in love when they grow old, not knowing that they grow old when they stop falling in love. I would give wings to a child, but I would let him learn to fly on his own. To the old men, to my old men, I would teach them that death does not come with old age but with oblivion.
I have learned so many things from you men and women… I have learned that everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, without knowing that true happiness lies in the way you climb the escarpment. I have learned that when a newborn squeezes his father’s finger with his little fist for the first time, he has it trapped forever. I have learned that a human only has the right to look down on another when he has to help him up.
There are so many things that I have been able to learn from you, but in the end they will not be of much use because when they keep me inside this suitcase, unfortunately I will be dying…”.
Questions to reflect on:
- Do you feel that people are criticizing you behind your back? What attitude do you take in this situation?
- Do you condemn others and are you the first to “throw the stone”?
- What are your biggest fears? What’s stopping you from getting out of your comfort zone?
- In what moments of your life have you thought that God has abandoned you?
- Do you feel that God does not listen to you? Or as Judith tells us, should we continue to wait for His help and salvation?
- Do you feel that just like the puppet, your life is empty? What aspects of your life do you want to change? What do you dare? What do you commit yourself to?
Youth during prayer
During these first moments of prayer we looked inside ourselves to discover what our greatest fears and insecurities are. At the entrance we were given a flowerpot full of earth next to some papers. At this moment we invite you to write down on the papers all the things you want to get rid of.
In the same way that the seed rots to germinate, we are going to burry in our flowerpots with earth those things that we want to take away from us, that infertile thing that does not germinate nor give us fruit. Once we have finished, we invite you to leave your flowerpot in the center.
SECOND PART OF THE PRAYER
Text 1: John 11, 17-27
On arriving, Jesus found that Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days already. Bethany is only about two miles from Jerusalem, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them about their brother.
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming she went to meet him. Mary remained sitting in the house. Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died, but even now I know that God will grant whatever you ask of him.’
‘Yes, Lord,’ she said, ‘I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who was to come into this world.’
Text 2: Genesis 18, 10-14
Then his guest said, ‘I shall come back to you next year, and then your wife Sarah will have a son.’ Sarah was listening at the entrance of the tent behind him.
Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well on in years, and Sarah had ceased to have her monthly periods.
So Sarah laughed to herself, thinking, ‘Now that I am past the age of childbearing, and my husband is an old man, is pleasure to come my way again?’
But Yahweh asked Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh and say, “Am I really going to have a child now that I am old?”
A wealthy merchant hired a carpenter to restore an old colonial house. Since the merchant was one of those people who liked to have everything under control and was worried that the work would not look good, he decided to spend a day in the house to see how the works were going.
At the end of the day, he realized that the carpenter had worked hard, even though he had suffered several setbacks. To complete the day of bad luck, the car also refused to run so the businessman offered to take him home.
The carpenter did not speak all along the way, visibly angry and worried about all the setbacks he had had throughout the day. When he arrived, he invited the merchant to meet his family and have dinner, but before opening the door, he stopped in front of a small tree and stroked its branches for a few minutes.
When he opened the door and entered the house, the transformation was radical: he seemed like a happy man. Dinner was filled with laughter and lively conversation. At the end of the evening, the carpenter accompanied the merchant to the car. When they passed in front of the tree, it asked him:
– What’s so special about that tree? Before entering you were angry and worried and after touching it you were another man.
– That’s the tree of problems – replied the carpenter. – I’m aware that I can’t avoid setbacks at work, but I don’t have to take my worries home. When I touch its branches, I leave the worries there and pick them up the next morning, when I return to work. The interesting thing is that every morning I find less reason to worry than the ones I left the day before.
That night, the rich merchant learned one of the most valuable lessons of his life.”
Questions for reflection:
- What do you want to resurrect from yourself?
- Am I fertile? Am I a potential generator of life?
- What do I put at the service of others?
- Do I plant storms or fertilizer around me to germinate?
In this second part of the prayer we have brought to light our potential, what we want to germinate, care for, water and make it continue to grow. Therefore, we want to put all those gifts or future projects in a posit, but this time we will insert them in our brochette. But, if the gift is not planted it will not bear fruit, so let’s put it in our pot, let’s put the gifts at the service of the community. When we place them we can reflect and share some of the prayer.