Morning Prayer, Friday 2nd October – led by Fr Terry Charlton, SJ:

Introduction: Scripture Readings

Then the LORD came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.” (1 Sam.3:10)

Hear, O peoples, all of you; Listen, O earth and all it contains, says the Lord from His holy temple. (Micah 1:2)

While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!” (Mt.17:5)

“Now therefore, O sons, listen to me, For blessed are they who keep my ways.“Heed instruction and be wise, And do not neglect it. “Blessed is the one who listens to me, Watching daily at my gates, Waiting at my doorposts. (Prov.8:32-34)

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”(Jn 10:27)

Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? (Jam.2:5)

After He called the crowd to Him again, He began saying to them, “Listen to Me, all of you, and understand. (Mk.7:14)

 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. (1Jn.4:1)

Part I: Growing in the Freedom of a Listening Disciple

(Reflection on the Gospel of Sunday, 27 September 2015, by Fr. James Martin, S.J., on the occasion of Pope Francis’ visit to the USA, Given at Slightly adapted)

One of the guiding principles of Ignatian spirituality is freedom. In his classic manual for prayer, the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius Loyola asks us to free ourselves of “disordered attachments,” that is, anything that could keep us from responding to God’s will in our lives.

Pope Francis is probably one of the best examples of that kind of Ignatian freedom. He is a free man, as many of us can see. After his election as pope, he did not need to live in the grand Apostolic Palace, but preferred to move into a more modest hostel. He did away with the traditional red shoes of the pope. He feels free to spontaneously embrace people during his visits overseas, as he has done here in the United States.  He is free. (Pause)

[Jesus reminds us to] remove anything that could prevent us from responding to God’s word. Jesus speaks with typical hyperbole, saying “If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.”

He’s not saying we should go around eyeless, but rather free.

…. let us pray for the courage to be freely who God dreams us to be. (Pause)

Part II: Listening in Light of the Signs of the times:

The 2015 Synod on the Family:

(Reflection on the Second Reading of Sunday, 18 January 2015, (ICor.6:13c-15a) by Fr. Terrence Charlton, S.J., on the occasion of Pope Francis’ visit to the USA, Given at

Pope Francis invites all of us to reflect deeply about the family as we prepare for the 2015 Synod on the Family according to some new orientations such as the following: Our being sexual is meant to be understood developmentally. (Pause)

Our being sexual is something we progressively integrate as power for loving over a lifetime. (Pause)

I feel like we are being invited into an adventure involving new ways of seeing that were previously stifled. What can it mean to remove the stigma from those divorced and re-married in order to welcome them as Christ would? (Pause)

[What can it mean] To stop stigmatizing our lesbian sisters and gay brothers as marginalized and inferior to the rest? (Pause)

Since Paul says, “You should use your body [clearly from the context, including your being sexual] for the glory of God,” what is the next step for me to integrate my being sexual and to act in terms of my being sexual in a loving way? (Pause)

Part III: Our Response

Petitions: You may add your spontaneous petitions in your preferred language after the first four prepared petitions are prayed. Our response is: Gracious God, give us a disciple’s listening ear.

God of life, we recognize that we each suffer from the pains and traumas of our histories. We ask you to heal us. Set us free so that our pain is transformed by the power of Jesus’ resurrection love into power for love. May what was pain history become part of our salvation history so that what was pain is transformed into insight and wisdom for the healing of others, we pray to our God:

Gracious God, give us a disciple’s listening ear.

The ancient Greek playwright, Aeschylus, writes, “In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.” Awesome God, by your grace, continue your work upon us so that our pain brings wisdom, we pray to our God:

Gracious God, give us a disciple’s listening ear.

Accompanying God, help us to listen to the story of each one who shares today. May each story plant a seed in our hearts that enables us to become more sensitive, more discerning, more loving and caring, we pray to our God:

Gracious God, give us a disciple’s listening ear.

Jesus told us: “Not one sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.”

Compassionate God, do help us become compassionate as you are compassionate. Let our LGBT experience of stigmatization make us sensitive to each and every one of your children, especially the most rejected and most marginalized, we pray to our God:

Gracious God, give us a disciple’s listening ear.

You are invited to announce your own petitions in the language of your choice.

Final Song expressing our commitment to live as listening, discerning disciples:

“Take, Lord, Receive” St. Louis Jesuits (Click on the link to listen)