Monday, September 9, 2013


Prayer to Saint Peter Claver

Dear Saint of our modern times,
you were permeated with compassion for the oppressed,
for human beings sold as slaves and treated as expendable beasts.
While alleviating their natural ills,
you also took away their spiritual ills,
and taught them the surpassing knowledge of Christ.
Inspire many of our contemporaries to become self-sacrificing missionaries like you.



Memorial of Saint Peter Claver, Priest

COL 1:24–2:3

Brothers and sisters:

I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake,
and in my flesh I am filling up
what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ
on behalf of his Body, which is the Church,
of which I am a minister
in accordance with God’s stewardship given to me
to bring to completion for you the word of God,
the mystery hidden from ages and from generations past.
But now it has been manifested to his holy ones,
to whom God chose to make known the riches of the glory
of this mystery among the Gentiles;
it is Christ in you, the hope for glory.
It is he whom we proclaim,
admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom,
that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.
For this I labor and struggle,
in accord with the exercise of his power working within me.

For I want you to know how great a struggle I am having for you
and for those in Laodicea
and all who have not seen me face to face,
that their hearts may be encouraged
as they are brought together in love,
to have all the richness of assured understanding,
for the knowledge of the mystery of God, Christ,
in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 62:6-7, 9

R. In God is my safety and my glory.

Only in God be at rest, my soul,
for from him comes my hope.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my stronghold; I shall not be disturbed.

R. In God is my safety and my glory.

Trust in him at all times, O my people!
Pour out your hearts before him;
God is our refuge!

R. In God is my safety and my glory.

LK 6:6-11

On a certain sabbath Jesus went into the synagogue and taught,
and there was a man there whose right hand was withered.
The scribes and the Pharisees watched him closely
to see if he would cure on the sabbath
so that they might discover a reason to accuse him.
But he realized their intentions
and said to the man with the withered hand,

“Come up and stand before us.”

And he rose and stood there.
Then Jesus said to them,

“I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the sabbath
rather than to do evil,
to save life rather than to destroy it?”

Looking around at them all, he then said to him,

“Stretch out your hand.”

He did so and his hand was restored.
But they became enraged
and discussed together what they might do to Jesus.


September 9

St. Peter Claver (1581-1654)

A native of Spain, young Jesuit Peter Claver left his homeland forever in 1610 to be a missionary in the colonies of the New World. He sailed into Cartagena (now in Colombia), a rich port city washed by the Caribbean. 
He was ordained there in 1615.

By this time the slave trade had been established in the Americas for nearly 100 years, and Cartagena was a chief center for it. Ten thousand slaves poured into the port each year after crossing the Atlantic from West Africa under conditions so foul and inhuman that an estimated one-third of the passengers died in transit. Although the practice of slave-trading was condemned by Pope Paul III and later labeled "supreme villainy" by Pius IX, it continued to flourish.

Peter Claver's predecessor, Jesuit Father Alfonso de Sandoval, had devoted himself to the service of the slaves for 40 years before Claver arrived to continue his work, declaring himself "the slave of the Negroes forever."

As soon as a slave ship entered the port, Peter Claver moved into its infested hold to minister to the ill-treated and exhausted passengers. After the slaves were herded out of the ship like chained animals and shut up in nearby yards to be gazed at by the crowds, Claver plunged in among them with medicines, food, bread, brandy, lemons and tobacco. With the help of interpreters he gave basic instructions and assured his brothers and sisters of their human dignity and God's saving love. During the 40 years of his ministry, Claver instructed and baptized an estimated 300,000 slaves.

His apostolate extended beyond his care for slaves. He became a moral force, indeed, the apostle of Cartagena. He preached in the city square, gave missions to sailors and traders as well as country missions, during which he avoided, when possible, the hospitality of the planters and owners and lodged in the slave quarters instead.

After four years of sickness which forced the saint to remain inactive and largely neglected, he died on September 8, 1654. The city magistrates, who had previously frowned at his solicitude for the black outcasts, 
ordered that he should be buried at public expense and with great pomp.

He was canonized in 1888, 
and Pope Leo XIII declared him the worldwide patron of missionary work among black slaves.


O Lord, open our lips.
And we shall praise your name.

Invitatory Psalm
Psalm 94 (95)

Let us come before the Lord, giving thanks.

Come, let us rejoice in the Lord,
let us acclaim God our salvation.
Let us come before him proclaiming our thanks,
let us acclaim him with songs.

Let us come before the Lord, giving thanks.

For the Lord is a great God,
a king above all gods.
For he holds the depths of the earth in his hands,
and the peaks of the mountains are his.
For the sea is his: he made it;
and his hands formed the dry land.

Let us come before the Lord, giving thanks.

Come, let us worship and bow down,
bend the knee before the Lord who made us;
for he himself is our God and we are his flock,
the sheep that follow his hand.

Let us come before the Lord, giving thanks.

If only, today, you would listen to his voice:
“Do not harden your hearts
as you did at Meribah,
on the day of Massah in the desert,
when your fathers tested me –
they put me to the test,
although they had seen my works.”

Let us come before the Lord, giving thanks.

“For forty years they wearied me,
that generation.
I said: their hearts are wandering,
they do not know my paths.
I swore in my anger:
they will never enter my place of rest.”

Let us come before the Lord, giving thanks.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Let us come before the Lord, giving thanks.

Stanbrook Abbey Hymnal

O God of truth, prepare our minds
To hear and heed your holy word;
Fill every heart that longs for you
With your mysterious presence, Lord.
Almighty Father, with your Son
And blessed Spirit, hear our prayer:
Teach us to love eternal truth
And seek its freedom everywhere.

Psalm 49 (50)
True reverence for the Lord

Our God comes openly,
he keeps silence no longer.

The Lord, the God of gods has spoken:
he has summoned the whole earth, from east to west.
God has shone forth from Zion in her great beauty.
Our God will come, and he will not be silent.
Before him, a devouring fire;
around him, a tempest rages.
He will call upon the heavens above, and on the earth, to judge his people.
“Bring together before me my chosen ones, who have sealed my covenant with sacrifice.”
The heavens will proclaim his justice; for God is the true judge.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Our God comes openly,
he keeps silence no longer.

Psalm 49 (50)

Pay your sacrifice of thanksgiving to God.

Listen, my people, and I will speak;
Israel, I will testify against you.
I am God, your God.
I will not reproach you with your sacrifices,
for your burnt offerings are always before me.
But I will not accept calves from your houses,
nor goats from your flocks.
For all the beasts of the forests are mine,
and in the hills, a thousand animals.
All the birds of the air – I know them.
Whatever moves in the fields – it is mine.
If I am hungry, I will not tell you;
for the whole world is mine, and all that is in it.
Am I to eat the flesh of bulls,
or drink the blood of goats?
Offer a sacrifice to God – a sacrifice of praise;
to the Most High, fulfill your vows.
Then you may call upon me in the time of trouble:
I will rescue you, and you will honor me.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Pay your sacrifice of thanksgiving to God.

Psalm 49 (50)

I want love, not sacrifice;
knowledge of God, not holocausts.

To the sinner, God has said this:
Why do you recite my statutes?
Why do you dare to speak my covenant?
For you hate what I teach you,
and reject what I tell you.
The moment you saw a thief, you joined him;
you threw in your lot with adulterers.
You spoke evil with your mouth,
and your tongue made plans to deceive.
Solemnly seated, you denounced your own brother;
you poured forth hatred against your own mother’s son.
All this you did, and I was silent;
so you thought that I was just like you.
But I will reprove you –
I will confront you with all you have done.
Understand this, you who forget God;
lest I tear you apart, with no-one there to save you.
Whoever offers up a sacrifice of praise gives me true honor;
whoever follows a sinless path in life will be shown the salvation of God.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

I want love, not sacrifice;
knowledge of God, not holocausts.

Listen, my people, and I shall speak.
– I am God, your God.

First Reading
Jeremiah 42:1-16,43:4-7

Then all the army leaders, with Johanan son of Kareah and Azariah son of Hoshaiah, and all the people from least to greatest, approached the prophet Jeremiah and said, ‘May it please you to hear our request! Intercede with the Lord your God for all this remnant – and how few we are who once were so many, your own eyes can now see – so that the Lord your God may show us the way we are to go and what we must do.’ The prophet Jeremiah replied, ‘I hear you; and I will indeed pray to the Lord your God as you ask; and every word the Lord your God replies I will tell you, keeping nothing back from you.’ They in their turn said to Jeremiah, ‘May the Lord be a true and faithful witness against us, if we do not follow the instructions that the Lord your God sends us through you. Whether we like it or not, we mean to obey the voice of the Lord our God to whom we send you to speak for us, 
and by thus obeying the voice of the Lord our God we will prosper.’

Ten days later the word of the Lord was addressed to Jeremiah. He then summoned Johanan son of Kareah and all the army leaders who were with him, and all the people from least to greatest. He said, ‘The Lord, the God of Israel, to whom you delegated me to offer your request says this: “If you are willing to remain peaceably in this country, I will build you and not overthrow you; I will plant you, not tear you up. For I am sorry for the evil I have done you. Do not be afraid of the king of Babylon any longer; do not fear him – it is the Lord who speaks – for I am with you to save you and deliver you from his hands. I will take pity on you, and move him to pity you and let you return to your native soil. But if you say: We do not want to stay in this country; if you disobey the voice of the Lord your God, and say: No, the land of Egypt is where we want to go, where we shall not see war nor hear the sound of trumpet, nor lack for bread; that is where we want to live; in that case, remnant of Judah, listen to the word of the Lord. The Lord Sabaoth, the God of Israel, says this: If you are determined to go to Egypt, and if you do go and settle there, the sword you fear will overtake you, there in the land of Egypt; the famine you dread will follow on your heels, right into Egypt; you shall die there.

Despite this, Johanan son of Kareah and all the army leaders and all the people would not obey the voice of the Lord and stay in the land of Judah. Johanan son of Kareah and all the army leaders led off the entire remnant of Judah, those who had come back from all the nations into which they had been dispersed, to live in the land of Judah: men, women, children, the royal princesses too, and every single person entrusted to Gedaliah son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, by Nebuzaradan, commander of the guard; they also led off the prophet Jeremiah and Baruch son of Neriah. 
And so, disregarding the voice of the Lord, they reached the land of Egypt and arrived at Tahpanhes.


Intercede with the Lord your God for all this remnant,
and how few we are who once were so many!

We are orphans, we are fatherless; our mothers are like widows,
and how few we are who once were so many!

Second Reading
A sermon
by Pope St Leo the Great

Whoever loves your law will have abundant peace

The blessedness of seeing God is justly promised to the pure of heart. 
For the eye that is unclean would not be able to see the brightness of the true light, and what would be happiness to clear minds would be a torment to those that are defiled. 
Therefore, let the mists of worldly vanities be dispelled, and the inner eye be cleansed of all the filth of wickedness, 
so that the soul’s gaze may feast serenely upon the great vision of God.

It is to the attainment of this goal that the next words refer: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. This blessedness, dearly beloved, does not derive from any casual agreement or from any and every kind of harmony, but it pertains to what the Apostle says: Be at peace before the Lord, and to the words of the prophet: Those who love your law shall enjoy abundant peace; for them it is no stumbling block. Even the most intimate bonds of friendship and the closest affinity of minds cannot truly lay claim to this peace if they are not in agreement with the will of God. Alliances based on evil desires, covenants of crime and pacts of vice – all lie outside the scope of this peace. Love of the world cannot be reconciled with love of God, and the man who does not separate himself from the children of this generation cannot join the company of the sons of God. But those who keep God ever in their hearts, and are anxious to preserve the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace, never dissent from the eternal law as they speak the prayer of faith. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

These then are the peacemakers; they are bound together in holy harmony and are rightly given the heavenly title of sons of God, co-heirs with Christ. And this is the reward they will receive for their love of God and neighbor: when their struggle with all temptation is finally over, there will be no further adversities to suffer or scandal to fear; 
but they will rest in the peace of God undisturbed, 
through our Lord who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen.


May we serve the Lord our God with a perfect heart,
that we may walk according to his will and obey his commands.

The love of God has been perfected in us,
that we may walk according to his will and obey his commands.

Let us pray.

Since it is from you, God our Father,
that redemption comes to us, your adopted children,
look with favor on the family you love,
give true freedom to us and to all who believe in Christ,
and bring us all alike to our eternal heritage.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Let us praise the Lord.
– Thanks be to God.