We pray that we may respect and listen to our youth, so that we may be taken out of our comfort zones to build a better future.
“Young people demand change. They wonder how anyone can claim to be building a better future without thinking of the environmental crisis and the sufferings of the excluded” (LS 13).
WYD Lisbon 2023 Official Prayer
Our Lady of the Visitation, you who arose and went with haste into the hill country to meet Elizabeth, lead us also to encounter all those who await us to deliver them the living Gospel: Jesus Christ, your Son and our Lord!
We, too, will go in haste, without distraction or delay, but with readiness and joy. We will go with peace because those who bring Christ bring peace, and well-being comes from being generous and loving in our deeds.
Our Lady of the Visitation, through your inspiration, this World Youth Day will be a shared celebration of Christ, whom we bring to others, just as you did.
Please make this a time of testimony and sharing, of fraternity and thanksgiving, with each of us looking for opportunities to give to those who are waiting to receive. With you, we will continue on this path of encounter so that our world will join us, too, in fraternity, justice, and peace.
Help us, Our Lady of the Visitation, to bring Christ to everyone, in obedience to the Father and in the love of the Holy Spirit!
By Sister Mº Fernanda
Inspired by the Gospel of Sunday, August 16, Mt 15:21-28.
The Gospel of this Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Sunday, August 16), in the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew (15:21-28), presents us with a “disagreement” that becomes an “encounter” between Jesus and a Canaanite woman whose daughter is ill.
Two people: Jesus and a mother, who stepped out of their comfort zones and were able to come to a true encounter with each other. Jesus leaves “his safe territory” in the direction of Tyre and Sidon– an attitude that announces that his Message of LOVE is not confined to countries, races, gender… and comes to cross borders.
To be a missionary in our world is to make real this commitment to collaborate, in the name of Jesus, with all those who seek a more livable world and with the care of our common home as a main objective.
Throughout the text we see the attentive listening of the Lord Jesus that leads him to recognize and value the woman’s faith, before all his disciples. He demonstrates that He draws near to those who earnestly seek Him.
The Canaanite woman breaks taboos by approaching a man–a Jewish man. Thanks to her trust in Jesus and to her perseverance in fighting for the healing of her daughter, she succeeds in bringing about the miracle of healing.
Those of us who have the privilege of knowing the names and lives of those forced to leave their countries know of the struggle and perseverance to find a better life. Like Jesus, their lives must challenge our own and take us out of our comfort zones to develop a true empathy with them.
Those of us who also have the privilege of sharing work and service with hundreds of volunteers, many of them committed young people, know that it is possible to live differently, contributing seeds of free love that will blossom into daily miracles only discovered by those who live attentively.
Today, each one of us is invited to have the courage to live with our ears and eyes of the heart wide open, to discover the small gestures that exist around us and that help to build a more humane world. Many of these actions involve young people who are fighting for a more compassionate future in connection with nature.
Let us pray for our youth, that we may listen to them without prejudice and leave our comfort zone, join them in their demands for the care of our world and respect their eagerness to build a more humane and humanizing civilization.
Questions for reflection
- Working for a better world is not only done in large demonstrations or political meetings. Think about how many young people close to you dedicate part of their time to helping other people as volunteers. Share your experience with them. Thank God for them and for so many people who are working to create a better world.
- Surely you have considered the possibility of dedicating part of your time to volunteering or participating in some cause to care for the planet, but the countless activities you are involved in seem to leave you no time. Isn’t now the time to find a gap and think about where to start? It is not a question of age, nor of capacities, it is a question of decision. Ask the Lord to enlighten you where you could give the best you have to offer.
- Think about how many people come to you for support. Ask yourself: what is my response? Do I let them approach me, or am I getting used to passing by and letting others do the work? Ask the Lord to open your heart to discover His presence in others, especially in the youth.
By Josep Lluis Llor, Laudato Si’ Animator, Spain
Josep Lluis Llor coordinates the Laudato Si’ Circle of Benicarló (Valencian Community, Spain). He did the Laudato Si’ Animator training together with his wife. They share their Catholic faith. He has worked for 37 years as a family doctor in the Ebro Delta.
His ecological conversion has been a slow, phased process throughout his life. As a child, he helped his parents grow vegetables in the garden. During his working life he was able to appreciate the relationship between climate changes and people’s health. He has also collaborated with local organizations to preserve the Delta. Since his youth, he has followed a healthy diet without meat.
Photographing the sunsets, being enchanted by the birdsong, appreciating the changes of light and color in the Delta throughout the year, all formed an education in prayer, of union with God. In his practice, he always strived for increasingly comprehensive care that would take into account people’s psychological, social and spiritual health.
It is also true that he lived many years hooked on consumerism, buying more than he needed. He became aware of this after 2015 by listening to TED talks on the climate crisis and reading books on warming or integral ecology. The urgency for change has helped him improve some aspects of his lifestyle, such as cutting down on shopping, commuting by bicycle or public transportation, and choosing to buy locally.
He is also committed to promoting the ecological conversion of individuals and groups, taking advantage of his training in logotherapy; and as a member of the Laudato Si’ Circle, he collaborates with the city council to implement tree planting, construct adequate bicycle lanes, improve waste management and strengthen citizen participation by requesting an Ecology Commission.
Hearing Creation’s Cry
The Benicarló Laudato Si Circle would like the City Council to “flood” the municipality with shade trees such as these.
Hearing Creation’s Song
Meditating by the river in the Ebro Delta at sunset
Road to 2025: the Movement’s synodal journey
Do you remember the recent announcement to convene our first face-to-face General Assembly and Global Encounter in Assisi in 2025?
On the road to this event, which commemorates the 800th anniversary of the Canticle of the Creatures and the tenth anniversary of both the Encyclical Laudato Si’ and our beloved Movement, we are conducting a survey to confirm our active members.
That is why, if you are a Laudato Si’ Animator, a Chapter leader, a Circle, or a representative of a Member Organization, we need you to fill out a brief survey. Chances are it has already arrived in your email inbox. If not, please write to us at [email protected].