Friday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time

First Scripture Reading
1 Thessalonians 4: 1-8
Gospel Reading
Matthew 25: 1-13

Opening Prayer

You love surprises, don’t You, Holy God! We need Your help to achieve holiness because even we are surprised by the depth, persistence and energy of our immorality, evil, jealousy and greed. Teach and empower us to reverence each other and ourselves with justice. Help us to use all our faculties as they are intended. Sometimes You make me feel like the bride, in the special way You treat me. But I also know that I am among the bridesmaids, waiting for your full and final wedding procession of love. Give us patience — it has been a long wait, Lord! Fortify and prepare us for the long night of waiting — so that we have enough oil to keep our hopes and lamps lit. Why are you taking so long, Bridegroom of my soul? We know that you are already mysteriously here — but we want the fullness! Ignite our faith and show us proper ways of refueling when we run low.

Beloved St. Therese, as a child of God, you needed a real sign that God was listening to and responding to your prayers.  You adopted the accused and unrepentant murderer Pranzini and prayed for his conversion – and on this day, as he was being executed in 1887, he kissed the cross moments before death.  You knew that was the confirming sign from Jesus that God listens to your prayers.  Stretch our faith to trust God’s merciful response to the needs, hurts and hopes of our lives.

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