And today begins the Second of the Nine Novenas for Justice, Peace, & Creation, and this one is dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe, Blessed Stanley Rother, and All the Martyrs of Latin America. It runs from June 29 to July 7, 2020.
I will not post this every day as the prayers and intentions are the same for each day. I’ll just leave it here for nine days; if I need to blog in the interim, I will just blog a reminder afterwards. For the background, please read this post (especially if you need to learn about who Bob Waldrop, the creator of this Novena, was, and why I am introducing it to you.) Or go here: A Novena of Novenas for Justice, Peace, & Creation.
Don’t worry if you jump in at some point later in the 81 days. To paraphrase Bob “just pick up whenever you happen to join in.”
AFTER THIS SENTENCE, THE WRITING IS ALL THAT OF BOB WALDROP, not me, Paulcoholic.
Novena of Novenas for Justice, Peace and Creation II: Our Lady of Guadalupe, Blessed Stanley Rother, and All the Martyrs of Latin America
Begin each novena prayer with a time of quiet prayer. You may find it helpful to pray some repetitions of the Jesus Prayer (Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner), a decade of the Rosary, the Chaplet of Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin, or a time of spiritual reading or lectio divina that will prepare your mind and your heart for the prayer to come. This could be a time for a daily examen, where you consider your actions of the day and how they relate to God’s call in your life.”
General Intention: the unjust exercise of authority, and the sins and structures of sin against life.
The Second Work of Justice and Peace: Hear the truth when it is spoken to you. Discern the signs of the times and speak truth — to power, to the people, and to the Church.
Act of caring for Creation: Start a compost pile and compost your organic waste.
God, come to my assistance. Lord, make haste to help me.
+ Let us pray together in peace, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, help the helpless, strengthen the fearful, comfort the sorrowful, bring justice to the poor, peace to all nations, and solidarity among all peoples. Give us strength to stand against the demonic powers which prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.
Open our eyes to see the beauty, joy, redemption, and goodness which comes through obedience to your Son our Lord. Teach us to be a refuge of hope for all who are oppressed by injustice and violence.
O Mary, blessed Lady of Guadalupe, bright dawn of the new world, Mother of the living, to you do we entrust the cause of life: Look down, O Mother, upon the vast numbers of babies not allowed to be born, of the poor whose lives are made difficult, of men and women who are victims of brutal violence and unjust wars, of the elderly and the sick killed by indifference or out of misguided mercy. Grant that all who believe in your Son may proclaim the Gospel of life with honesty and love to the people of our time.
Obtain for them the grace to accept that Gospel as a gift ever new, the joy of celebrating it with gratitude throughout their lives and the courage to bear witness to it resolutely, in order to build, together with all people of good will, the civilization of truth and love, to the praise and glory of God, the Creator and lover of life.
Pray for us, Blessed Stanley Rother and all Martyrs of Latin America! Bring to our remembrance this day all people who are killed in wars, acteal martyrstortured in jails, disappeared in the night, starved for food, subjected to oppression, driven from their homes, unlawfully imprisoned, denied religious liberty, excluded from economic opportunity, marginalized by poverty, targeted by racial and cultural prejudices, silenced by violence and injustice. Help us to hear and remember the tragedy, joy, despair, and hope of the voices that call to us and to history for justice, reconciliation, and peace. Pray for us so that by the grace of God we will build a world without injustice. Amen.
Prayer to St. John Chrysostom on behalf of the U.S. Catholic bishops:
Most Glorious and Venerable St. John Chrysostom,
Grace shining forth from your lips like a beacon
has illumined the universe.
It shows to the world the treasures of poverty;
it reveals to us the heights of humility.
Teaching us by your words, O Father John Chrysostom,
intercede before the Word, Christ our God, to save our souls!
Pray for the bishops of the United States of America,
who do not teach or practice the Catholic faith in its fullness,
that God will deliver them to orthodoxy,
and reform their ways of living,
so that as exemplars of orthopraxis, they will protect all life,
from the moment of conception to the time of natural death.
Teach them true solidarity with the poor, so that they
understand the consequences of their moral abandonment
of entire nations of human beings to a collective fate of cruelty and violence
because they were in the way of the American Empire and
its gluttonous lust for oil, supremacy, and blood.
As you refused to obey the aristocratic commands of your era,
help our bishops turn away from the political demands
that cause them to preach a false gospel of moral relativism regarding war and peace.
Having received divine grace from heaven,
with your mouth you teach all people to worship the Triune God.
Instruct our bishops with the wisdom of the Gospel,
so that they repent of their material cooperation with the objective evil of unjust war, and call all people, in authentic word and deed, to live in solidarity, peace, and justice.
All-blest and venerable St. John Chrysostom,
we praise you, for you are our teacher, revealing things divine!
Pray for us that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
O God, Who by the preaching and teaching of Saint John Chrysostom
has given us an example of fortitude in the face of persecution and political corruption, grant that we who reverence his life and ministry may also imitate
his example of fidelity to wisdom, truth, justice, and beauty,
through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Our Father . . . Hail Mary… Glory be. . .
Thoughts for the journey. In this Novena we honor Mary as Our Lady of Guadalupe, protector of all children, whatever their social, political, or physical location may be. She is patron of all those who are oppressed and persecuted and patron of the Americas. We also remember the martyrs of Latin America, victims of cruel conflicts between world empires and corrupt ruling classes. Many of these killings were committed with arms and money provided by the United States, by military personnel trained by the United States. All of us must examine our consciences as to how we benefit from the evil done by our governments.
We name in particular Blessed Stanley Rother, born on a farm near Okarche, Oklahoma. Not a great student, he had to leave one seminary because of academic concerns, but was accepted elsewhere which was better equipped to help him meet the academic standards of ordination. Sent to the mission church of Santiago Aititlan in Guatamala, he not only celebrated the Sacraments, he helped the people better their lives. He introduced new crops, organized a farmers marketing coop, and did all he could to help them to help themselves. This brought him into conflict with the government, whose policy was that the indigenous peoples should be poor, and remain poor, so they could be exploited for the benefit of the ruling class. They were consistently supported in this evil by the United States government, which in the 1950s conspired with the Guatamalan ruling classes to overthrow the only freely elected democratic government that nationa had experienced. It is not too much to say that the guns and bullets used to murder Blessed Stanley Rother were paid for by the US taxpayers.
Throughout history, we have drawn circles around certain groups and said, “These people are not human — dispose of them as you choose.” The holocausts are too many to count. Do we really believe that human life is precious and deserves respect and protection? That depends on where the alleged person is located, socially and physically.
Some people simply aren’t considered to be real people. They may be too old, and too sick, and too poor, or located someplace “inconvenient.” Perhaps they live on land which is coveted by others more powerful than they. Maybe their nations have resources that we want. This was the attitude of nearly everyone in the United States, including sadly the bishops and most of the clergy of the Catholic Church in the United States, towards the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. We have for the most part stood by and done nothing as they were “caught in the crossfire.” All of us must examine our consciences concerning our complicity with the unjust murder that has gone on in the name of the US Government in Iraq and Afghanistan, Africa, Central America, and elsewhere in the world. We have stood in the streets, and instead of crying out against unjust war, we have instead screamed repeatedly — “Crucify them! Crucify them!”
Society has developed many ways to ease this process, starting with the NewSpeak vocabulary that describes these events passively so they don’t see so “bad”. Structures of sin always defend themselves vigorously. There is enough tragedy in this to go around more than once.
Abandonment by fathers, violence against women, unjust economics that encourage abortion, terrorism, mandatory contraception & sterilization, demonization of the poor (especially young single mothers), cartelized and corporatized health care and so on. Here is where we remember that the Lady of Guadalupe took upon herself the image of a young pregnant Aztec maiden in a place of oppression and injustice, demonstrating God’s love for everybody.
We find this message also in the mysteries of Blessed Stanley Rother and the many Martyrs of Latin America. They were condemned by politicians. The bullets and bombs that killed them were paid for by the powerful. They were targeted because they were poor. Their deaths were enabled by structures that dehumanize and depersonalize human beings. Like unborn children, a circle was drawn around them & they were proclaimed as fair game. Empires counted their deaths as collateral damage. Most of us stood by and did nothing, or actively supported our crusade of brutal violence against the poor. Their voices call to us for justice & remembrance.
How is my life — how is your life — open to the reality that Christ is alive and he loves each and every one of us? Jesus gave his life to save us and our societies from sin and oppression. Does that reality have an impact on the way we live? He was with the Martyrs of Acteal and the Four Churchwomen and the Blessed Oscar Romero and the Blessed Fr. Stanley Rother and all the other martyrs of Latin America at the time that demonic evil so cruelly ended their lives. He comforted them in life and in death. Jesus lives today and is at our side every moment of every day to enlighten, strengthen, and free us. Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, of our journeys of justice and peace.
Act of Caring of Creation: Compost!
God designed this planet to work in accordance with natural laws. So when living organic matter dies, it goes back to the earth, decays, and is reborn as new plants starting a new cycle. This is the natural way our planet works. But we are the Americans! We have a Better Way! We should wrap our organic wastes in black plastic and bury it in holes! Surely we are Smarter Than God! Well as a matter of reality we are not smarter than God, and our fetish with stuffing black plastic bags with trash and burying them in the ground is a moral crime against Nature — which is the Creation of God. So a compost pile is not some foolish activity of hippies. To package your kitchen waste in black plastic, robbing the earth of those nutrients, contaminating them with chemicals and other industrial wastes, is (for most of us) sin. Think of this unnatural practice as. . . “environmental sodomy.” Holiness demands a better way, and that’s what composting is about.
If you don’t know how to compost, read this short article that I wrote and recently revised:
Compost! Because a rind is a terrible thing to waste.
If you want to grow your own food, the place to start is by making compost. Some people make this out to be much more complicated than it really is. Here is a basic recipe for making compost.
Select a place for a compost pile, and dig the ground up a bit. Put down a layer of twigs and small branches, and then make alternating layers of “brown and dry” materials and “green and wet” materials. Brown and dry can include leaves, shredded tree limbs and bark, newspapers (no shiny slick papers or colored inks), brown cardboard, dried grass clippings. Green and wet includes kitchen scraps, green lawn trimmings, green leaves, flowers, weeds, plants, etc. It’s best not to put fats or meats in the pile, as that will attract varmints, but they will compost if not eaten…
Wet each layer thoroughly, and toss a shovel of soil on each layer and a couple of small branches. Pile it up at least 3 feet high and 3 feet wide, & then leave it alone for a year. If it’s a dry summer, water it so it stays damp inside (like a wrung out sponge). After about a year, rake away the leaves still on top, and inside will be a nice, rich, dark loamy compost that smells like forest dirt when you sniff it.
If you can’t wait a whole year, you can make compost faster by fussing with it a bit. Every week or so go out and “turn it”, that is to say, use a pitchfork and move the compost to a different spot, so that what was “outside” on the pile is now inside, and what was inside is now on the outside.
If the compost heap starts to smell bad, something’s wrong, probably either too much “wet and green” or it has somehow gotten so compacted that air can’t get in. For the problem of too much wet and green, add more brown and dry. If the pile has become compacted, then stir it up a bit and add some small branches (the purpose of the branches is to keep the pile from compacting and to help air circulate).
If you dig into the pile, you will find lots of little creatures at work, rolly pollies, worms, etc. That’s good, because that’s what’s supposed to happen.
If you want a nice garden, the place to start is by building your soil. No chemical fertilizer has the advantages of home made compost, & it has the added benefit of recycling your food waste, lawn & garden trimmings on site, rather than sending them off to be buried wastefully in a landfill. Composting is the beginning of a beautiful home garden. Start your compost pile this week, a rind is a terrible thing to waste!
By Bob WaldropKnow someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics" and "The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts" (Thank you!!)