This week marks the end of the AMRI Advent series, Living Laudato Si. As we journey in faith through this Advent season towards Christmas, we invite you to pause and join with AMRI staff in prayer (video below), a reflection based on Pope Francis Encyclical Laudato Si.
This prayer service was kindly written by Sr Pat Donovan and the music was provided by Sr Marie Dunne. Please share this prayer service and pray it together in your congregations and faith communities.
Following on from our recorded Advent Prayer Service, you can read a Christmas message from David Rose, Secretary General.
Printed Advent Service – AMRI_Advent_Prayer_002_ (1)
Christmas Message from Secretary General
Christmas greetings of joy and peace to you! The journey to Bethlehem by Mary and Joseph with the birth of the baby Jesus instantly connects us to family. The nativity speaks to us of the human experiences of joy and struggle. It is also one of the most profound mysteries of our faith – the Incarnation – the Word became flesh and lived among us. The second person of the Trinity entered the world weak and vulnerable as a baby. There is a self-emptying by Jesus, a letting go …”His state was divine, yet He did not cling to his equality with God, but emptied Himself …” (Phil 2:6-7).
‘Letting go’ has been a recurrent theme this year in the work of AMRI. We heard it in the webinar on new forms of governance recently; the need to let go of structures that are no longer fit for purpose, but have become burdensome. At the synodality webinar, we heard of the need to let go of old outdated models of Church. We need to let go in order to let come the new! Create space for a different synodal Church to emerge.
The pandemic has forced change on us, as has global warming. We have had to learn to adapt to new realities. We need to go much further to address inequality. It’s not easy to let go of familiar well-worn ways of thinking and doing. Where might the chinks of the new enter in to light our way? How might we hear the gentle prompting of the Holy Spirit? Most of the founders of our congregations, orders and institutes found it in prayer and in hospitality and service with people on the margins. “No-one is useless and no one is expendable. This means finding ways to include those on the peripheries of life. For they have another way of looking at things; they see aspects of reality that are invisible to the centres of power,” says Pope Francis in Fratelli Tutti, no. 215.
I have chosen the artwork ‘Joseph and Mary can’t make it to Bethlehem’ by Banksy, the elusive pop culture artist. The image shows the Israeli West Bank Barrier that, if the journey was made today, would block Mary and Joseph’s path. It speaks of the harshness of the journey to Bethlehem, disturbing our comfortable image of the event. It is about the divided Middle East. It also captures something of the barriers being erected by governments to block asylum seekers and refugees; and those who are homeless today. This Christmas let us have courage to challenge injustice, to remember and try to encounter those on the margins for they are Jesus incarnate.