Our Lady of the Precious Blood and St. Franz Jagerstatter July 19 - 27, 2000

General Intention: The reconciliation of persons and peoples.

Home + Front Page + Better Times + Novena 2000

Third Work of Justice and Peace: Make injustice visible -- witness, remember, teach, proclaim, tell. Light candles, do not curse the darkness.

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. Open our eyes to see the beauty, joy, redemption, and goodness which comes through obedience to the call of your Son our Lord. Teach us to be a refuge of hope for all who are oppressed by injustice and violence. Give us strength to stand against the demonic powers which prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.

Precious Blood, Ocean of Divine Mercy: Flow upon us!

Precious Blood, most pure Offering: Procure for us every grace!

Precious Blood, Hope and Refuge of sinners: Atone for us!

Precious Blood, Delight of holy souls: Draw us!

St. Franz Jagerstatter, in a time of great hatred, injustice, and violence, you bore heroic witness to peace, beauty, and holiness. Your devotion to truth shows us the way to reconciliation. Your example of fortitude brings us understanding. Your life of beauty in the face of appalling evil fills us with hope. May your heart of love inspire us so that we will witness, remember, teach, and proclaim the Gospel of life and love for all peoples, everywhere, and not count the cost.

Thoughts for the journey during the Jubilee Holy Year 2000.

His lifeless body was taken from the Cross and laid in her blessed arms. How the tears must have flowed as she cradled Him in her arms, He who once had been a little baby, bouncing on her lap, a young man who followed in Joseph's footsteps as a carpenter and who taught in the Temple confounding the wise, a fearless prophet who healed and taught and brought hope. How His life must have passed before her eyes, as her tears mingled with His most precious Blood. "A sword shall also pierce your heart." Her blood had been his first nourishment. Present at that first Eucharist, she received the Cup from His hands -- did she understand even then what was to come? "She kept all these things and pondered them in her heart."

"For in Christ all the fullness was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile all things for him, making peace by the blood of his cross through him. (Colossians 1:19-20a). "And all this is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting their trespasses against them and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation." (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)

How great is the need for reconciliation in this world! But reconciliation is more than an oppressor saying, "By the way, I'm sorry" and then going on and doing the same thing to someone else, who closes his eyes to the consequences of his actions. It is not the denial of injustice, but rather, the correction of the objective disorders that brought on the harm. The call to reconciliation is also not the Voice of the Oppressor saying "Cooperate with our violence against you." Rather, it is the witness of the Precious Blood of Christ that reconciliation is praxis -- it is action rooted in spirituality. Faith without works is dead.

This is not a comfortable process, and often it is easier to just shift the blame onto their victims. People say that poverty is caused by laziness and bad choices. Sometimes this is true, but it is only part of the explanation. Many close their eyes to structures of injustice and exploitation and greed, processes that make people poor and keep them "in their place." The poor become a fearful Alien, the Other, to be mastered, confined, counted, regulated, and exploited for the good of the ruling political and economic elites.

During this novena we honor the memory of St. Franz Jagerstatter, an Austrian farmer who was killed by the Nazis during World War II because of his refusal to bear arms and serve in the German military. His example of fortitude in the face of the most appalling evil is a reminder that reconciliation begins with truth -- and leads to a personal commitment to live the Gospel, even at great risk.

Our prayer is that through true reconciliation, all people will learn how to be one in solidarity with each other, so that Serbian and Albanian, Irish Protestant and Irish Catholic, Hutu and Tutsi, Afrikaner and Zulu, White Americans and Native Americans, and all other persons and peoples will acknowledge the human personhood and dignity of each other, and live together in peace upon the earth. And as the song says, let this begin with me. Our praxis is also a prayer, and this is the prayer that is most pleasing to God.

Next novena

Seven Offerings of the Most Precious Blood

Home + Front Page + Better Times + Novena 2000