Prayer for Monday, November 20th, 2017
Leader: Good morning. Let us begin our prayer in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. (Invite persons present to pause for a few moments of silent recollection and to offer any special intentions.)
How many of you have ever heard the word martyr before? (wait for hands). Does anyone know what a martyr is? (wait for answers). That's right, a martyr is someone who has died for his or her faith. This week we celebrate the feast days of two saints who died for their faith. Friday we celebrate the feast of St. Andrew Dung Lac a Vietnamese priest who lived in the 1800's. He was beheaded because he would not give up his faith in Jesus.
Saturday we celebrate the feast day of St. Catherine of Alexandria. St. Catherine School is named in her honour. Catherine lived in the 4th century under the emperor Maxentius. Maxentius hated Christians and persecuted them terribly. He told Catherine she had two choices. She could deny Christ and have a royal wedding or she could stand up for Christ and be executed. She chose to be executed. While she waited in jail for her execution, her preaching of the good news convinced Maxentius's wife and two hundred of Maxentius's soldiers to become Christians. For her efforts, she was horribly tortured and eventually beheaded. She was only fourteen years old when she was killed. She is the patron saint of preachers because she refused to stop preaching the good news even when her life was at stake. She is also the patron saint of students as she, like you, went to school.
So what can we learn from these martyrs? First, we learn that being a Christian is not always easy. Others may make fun of us because of our beliefs. Second, we learn that we need to be faithful to Jesus even it is difficult to do so. Third, we learn that sin and darkness will never overcome the light of Christ. Though St. Andrew and St. Catherine suffered the darkness of death, we know that they are now rejoicing in the light of heaven. This Sunday, churches around the world will celebrate a special day to remind us that Jesus is the light of the world, a light that no darkness will ever overcome. This day is called the Feast of Christ the King. This special day reminds us that Jesus is our king, a king who loves us and will always take care of us. Let us pray.
Leader: Lord God,
We thank you for the example of the martyrs, our brothers and sisters in faith, who gave up their lives because of their belief in you. Through their prayers, may our faith become stronger so that we, like them, can stand up to any hardships or persecution we may face because of our belief in you. May your special blessing be upon the students, staff and parents of St. Catherine School. We make our prayer in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.