Prayers of reparation and atonement

May 2010

General resources

We hope to add more ideas and resources over coming weeks. All the resources will remain online indefinitely.

Entering the Month
Although the bishops have asked us to pray on Fridays, you may wish to keep the prayer intention alive throughout the month. There are various ways in which you could do this.
Choose a symbol – one that you can carry with you or put on a bedside cabinet or other place you’ll spot it each day (or several times a day)

Ideas could include:

  • A stone or pebble – reflect on the hardness, roughness… perhaps also the stone could represent the burden carried by those who are surviving abuse.

  • A small plant in need of care to come to flowering (and possibly a second one that will not be allowed to do so … reflecting on the tender souls whose lives are blighted and cannot now flourish as God intended them to.

  • Water – put a note by the mirror in the bathroom or over the kitchen sink. Every time you wash your hands, you might read one or more of the following phrases:

    • Pilate washed his hands of Jesus ... Lord, forgive those who wash their hands of those who suffered. And/ or of those guilty of grave sin.

    • Come to the waters you who thirst … for those thirsting for love – justice – forgiveness.

    • O wash me and I shall be clean … I pray for those who feel unclean because of things done to them.

  • Prayer card – with the short blessing.

  • Rosary – as a reminder to pray a decade during spare moments – in supermarket queues/ traffic jams/ on the bus…

  • Hail Holy Queen prayer card– a traditional prayer seeking Mary’s intercession. Find a prayer card with it on = or make your own. Pray it slowly and mindfully – allow the words to drip deep into your soul as you hold those who suffer ‘under Mary’s mantle’.

  • Cross in your pocket – a reminder to pray for those whose lives have been torn apart by abuse.

Awareness prayer
It is likely that you know people who were abused as children/ young people/ or adults – though they may never disclose this to you. In any crowd, there will be such people too – as well as those who have committed abuse.
In queues and crowds, turn your mind and heart to them in quiet reflection. In a few moments of prayer, ask God – who knows who they are – to enfold them in love – to give those who have suffered, healing – to bring those who have sinned to repentance. You don’t need to make a show of this – simply be “present” and aware of those around you and allow your spiritual energy to be used as God desires.

Marian Prayer
May is traditionally the month of Mary. For many people who have been abused by men, Mary can offer an image of feminine love which can begin to open the way to healing. Create a space in your home and put in it an image of Mary that particularly speaks to you.

  • Use the Hail Holy Queen as a prayer of intercession – or the Magnificat as a prayer speaking of the power of God to raise the lowly – or the Rosary as meditation on events in the life of Mary.

  • Spend time in silent prayer, talking to Mary as the mother Jesus gave to the world… Use the following thoughts – or any that come to your own heart and mind as you pray:

    • Ask her to hold those whose mothers let them down in her own prayer – to touch their lives with her love.

    • Talk with her about the mothers who were powerless to help their children.

    • Perhaps talk about how those who have been abused feel dirty – impure… and how parts of Mary’s own story (and more particularly, how people might have interpreted it) could offer hope to them of reclaiming a sense of their own purity and inner beauty.

Prayer around the Cross – Taizé-style Prayer
Brother Roger of Taizé often referred to the need of many young people for healing of pain and suffering from their childhoods. He did not specify sexual abuse – though would have been a wise enough listener to know that it happened and, perhaps, that it happened in church settings and that Taizé offered a place for reconciliation and healing for young people.

On Friday nights in Taizé, the Community invites everyone to take part in Prayer around the Cross. The Taizé cross is placed horizontally and people come forward to pray close to it – touching it with their hand, laying their forehead upon it, or simply sitting or kneeling gazing at the image of the One who so loved the world that he suffered and died for it. It can be a moment of intense love – or sorrow – or both.

More detailed suggestions for the prayer will be uploaded shortly but a simple outline for a Prayer around the Cross could be:

  • Chant

  • Reading from Scripture

  • Chant

  • Silence

  • Chant

  • Intercessions

  • Coming to the Cross – with simple chants or gentle background music

If numbers are small, this may come to a natural end and the prayer could close with a couple of chants. Otherwise, and if the church/ building can remain open, maintain the chants as long as practical and allow people to leave when they are ready.

© Wellspring 2010

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