Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us according as we hope in thee.

Our Lady of Sorrows,
we pray for those who will die today
because of war, economic chaos, injustice, and exploitation,
especially the children.

Prepare them for the agony, despair,
and terror of the violence that is upon them.
Comfort them and hold them close to the
bosom of thy Wounded Heart as they drink deeply
of the bitter cup which is forced upon them.

Wipe their tears, calm their fears,
welcome them to peace and safety.

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.

Overturn the thrones of tyranny and scatter the unjust.
Cast down the bloody rulers who make the cry of
the widow and orphan rise to heaven.
Open our eyes to see the beauty, joy,
redemption, and goodness which comes
through obedience to the Gospel 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. Amen.

O Christ God, Lord of Glory,
who gave us joy and blessing from your Mother's womb,
have mercy on us and save us.

Remember, St. Joseph, most humble and loving protector of the poor,
that no one ever had recourse to your protection
or asked your aid without obtaining relief.
Confiding therefore in your goodness,
we come before you and pray to you on behalf of all those at risk
today of war, economic catastrophe, and injustice..
Holy Joseph, help the helpless, comfort the dying,
bring justice to the poor, and peace to all nations.

O God of Justice and Mercy!
Bless the people and government of our nation with a
desire for reconciliation with our enemies.
Take away from us the temptations of
empire, wealth, violence, and greed,
so that we might be a blessing to all the peoples of this good earth,
bringing peace instead of the scourges of greed, war, and death.

O Christ God, Lord of Glory,
who gave us joy and blessing from your Mother's womb,
have mercy on us and save us.

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.
Be our shield against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou,
O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God thrust into hell Satan
and all the evil spirits which prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.

O Christ God, Lord of Glory,
who gave us joy and blessing from your Mother's womb,
have mercy on us and save us.

O Mary, 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,
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. Amen.

O Christ God, Lord of Glory,
who gave us joy and blessing from your Mother's womb,
have mercy on us and save us.

From the Oscar Romero Catholic Worker House in Oklahoma City, on the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time in the year of our Lord 2001.



While searching this afternoon for meaning in all these events, I
picked up Robert Ellsberg's All Saints: Daily reflections on
saint, prophets, and witnesses for our time. On this day in
1772, John Woolman, a Quaker, died of smallpox. I was so
impressed by his story, he is obviously a Holy Helper of the
Poor, and anticipated much of Dorothy Day's and Peter Maurin's
ministries, that I decided to transcribe today's entry and include it on this page. He practiced "the Little Way" and took pesonalist responsibility for bringing the Reign of God to himself, his family, and his community. His "Plea for the Poor or a Word of Remembrance and Caution to the Rich may be read online here.

John Woolman, Quaker

1720 - 1772
"It requires great self-denial and resignation of ourselves to
God to attain that state wherein we can freely cease from
fighting. . . Whoever rightly attains to it, does in some degree
feel that Spirit in which our Redeemer gave his life for us." J.

John Woolman was an American Quaker born in Rancocas, New Jersey,
20 miles east of Philadelphia. He was married and earned his
living as tailor. A man of extreme integrity, his life was spent
in a continuous effort to heed the dictates of Christ and to
apply them in all areas of his life. Above all, he took it as a
personal charge to do all in his power to oppose the evil
institution of slavery. His conscience was particularly offended
by the knowledge that many of his fellow Quakers saw no harm in
this practice. To Woolman's mind, "the only Christian way to
treat a slave is to set him free."

He began speaking on this question in his local Quaker meeting
and then took up a series of ever-widening journeys, on foot, to
admonish slave-owning Quakers, journeys that extended to the
South and throughout New England. Believing that "conduct is more
convincing than language," he refused to accept hospitality in
the home of slave owners.

This was only one of his principled stands. During the time of
the French and Indian War he refused to pay a war tax, preferring
instead to be fined for disobedience. His typical Quaker
simplicity of life was reinforced by a conviction that the
craving for luxuries and unnecessary possessions was the root of
all oppression and war. Thus, he also resolved not to eat
anything made with sugar or molasses, as these were the products
of slave labor in the West Indies. For similar reasons he
disdained dyed clothes. He was determined not simply to avoid all
direct oppression of his fellow humans, but to root out any
indirect enjoyment of exploited labor. In his "Plea for the
Poor," he wrote: "May we look upon our treasures and the
furniture of our houses and the garments in which we array
ourselves and try whether the seeds of war have any nourishment
in these our possessions, or not."

During a time of violent tensions with Indians on the
Pennsylvania frontier, Woolman felt called to undertake a
peacemaking mission to the Indian territory, "that I might feel
and understand their life and the spirit they live in, if haply I
might receive some instruction from them, or they have in any
degree heped forward by my following the leadings of Truth amonst
them." In several peaceful encounters, he managed to sit with the
Indians and experienced a silent communion.

In 1772 Woolman felt moved to journeya ll the way to England to
bear witness to Quakers there about the evils of slavery and the
temptations of commerce and prosperity. He arrived in June and
traveled widely, speaking at Quaker meetings in a number of
cities. In York he caught smallpox and died on October 7, 1772.

Woolman's journal, published after his death, is a classic
expression of Quaker spirituality. In its self-effacing and
matter-of-fact chronicle of his adventures in applied
Christianity., it exemplifies the ideal Quaker integration of the
prophetic and the mystical. As Douglas Steere has noted,
"Woolman's Journal is not only the story of a 'collected' man but
it is the recounting of the way in which a Quaker 'concern' may
unfold within a man's heart, and if attended to and followed out,
may not only reshape his own life as its vehicle but spread to
others, and become a transforming power in the history of his

(Sources: See the Journal of John Woolman, ed. Janet Whitney,
Chicago, Henry Regnery, 1950; Douglas Steere, ed. Quaker
Spirituality: Selected Writings, Classics of Western
Spirituality, NY, Paulist, 1984.)