Mystery of the Cross
*(R) Redeem us, Lord, and make us redeemers by the mystery of the Cross*
1) Living the example of Jesus Christ, fidelity to our commitment as religious/Christians, will lead to the cross. Jesus himself told us that following him is reduced to three things: letting go ourselves, taking up our cross, and following him (Lk 9 23). The cross is not merely a possibility in religious life, or even a probability; it is an inevitability.
2) God, you who called the world into being, you who created women and men and set them free to live in love, in obedience and especially to the religious life, grant a deeper insight into the mystery of the cross, we pray
*(R/- or another refrain may be sung, like “If you wish …” “Unless.”)*
1) Our experiences of the cross, we realize, are often unannounced and cause us to question their object, form, or timing in our life. We wonder, 'why me?', 'why this?' or 'why now?'. There are no pre-packaged answers to these questions. However, we know from Jesus that to the degree that we embrace the cross in our own life, to that degree we can provide the perspective of faith to others, in ministry and in community.
2) God, you who because of love for the creation, entered the world, through your son Jesus, to share our humanity, to rejoice and to despair, to set before us the paths of life and death; to be rejected, to die, but finally to conquer death and to bind the world to himself, grant us the strength of purpose to accept the crosses you sent, we pray (R )
1) First of all, cross, for Jesus, is an expression of God's presence and activity in our life, in our congregation. Our sense-experience and our perception would have us believe that God is both absent and inactive during our encounters with the cross. Only in faith can we acknowledge the truth here i.e. trials are like a divine seal which stamps all the works of God.
2) God, you who invite us into the community of the Congregation and the Church that we may, despite trials and tribulations, through faith and communion, experience God's uplifting and sustaining grace; that we may fulfil our human responsibility and reach out for our neighbour; that we may work to bring healing and wholeness to a ruptured and uncertain world... and that we may rejoice in the constancy of nature and the joy of life itself, we pray (R )
1) Secondly, through Jesus we learn that the cross is an expression of God's mercy and love. New trials are reserved for the work of God’s Kingdom to enable it to emerge from them with greater strength and vigour.
2) God, whose word teaches us that the wheat and the weed grow together; that the paths of life and death, good and evil, too often converge.... choices are not clearly defined, grant us the confidence to responsibly tread the path we choose, we pray (R )
1) Thirdly, the cross is a reflection of Jesus' example. As Jesus lived, so we are called to live. Inherent within our experiences of the cross lies the power of transformation.
2) God, whose purpose we try to sense in a spark of light here and there as humankind struggles to keep a human face. We know your purpose as we watch children at play...hope born anew in each generation.... perhaps to be quickly extinguished, perhaps to continue to burn brightly. For that hope may we give thanks, we pray (R )
*(Two persons can alternate 1 and 2 and a short refrain sung at the end of each #2.)*
Leader: Living God, we pray for all people:
-For those shut off from a full life by tradition and practice and the current reality
-For those people who are oppressed and exploited because of caste, creed or colour.
-For those denied their freedom and dignity by systems and authorities.
-For those forced to leave their jobs and homes because of their ideologies.
-For those seeking answers and meaning to their lives within their cultures and religions.
-For those forced to sell their bodies to survive.
-For those who live lives of quiet desperation in the hands of the powerful and prestigious.
Leader: For these and all those who one way or other bear the cross, we pray Lord, that we may once again give joyful expression to your creative love which breaks down barriers and unites person to person, woman to man, and members to their community, which gives meaning and hope to empty lives and makes us reach out to each other in generous self-giving. We ask this through Christ, Our Lord. Amen