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Gerry O’Hanlon SJ, author of The recession and God reflects on praying in recessionary times

I meet many people who are worried and fed up these days. There seems to be no end to the bad news – unemployment rising, pensions wiped out, uncertainty everywhere and an ugly mood of discontent. I wonder was it like this for Job? Or for the Psalmist who asked ‘how long must we wait?’

Funny how that visit to my 86 year old Uncle Rory last week was one of God’s ways of helping me to see things in a different light. Rory lived with my dad and the rest of their large family in a 3-storey house in Hardwick Street, in the heart of Dublin, back in the 1920s. He described how they had a toilet and tap in the yard: there they washed, and fetched water in a bucket for the cooking. “It was all we knew”, he said “and we were happy”.

I know, Lord, that Rory is not some kind of grumpy Luddite, full of nostalgia for times past. He appreciates so much the real progress we have made, the beautiful houses we live in. But he does regret the passing of those other values which affluence has tended to suppress – like the time we had for one another, the kind of solidarity which excessive competition destroys. I can understand better now what the French poet Charles Péguy meant when he wrote that ‘everything begins in mysticism and ends in politics’.

And so, Lord, help me like Job to be patient, to listen to the many reassurances of Jesus telling me ‘do not be afraid’, to imagine a future in which economic growth will seek a ‘richness of sufficiency’ which will respect our planet and the common good of all – rich and poor – who live on it. Help me to believe that this is possible, because in the resurrection of Jesus you have shown that evil is, in the end, defeated. Fill me with confident hope in your love.

40 Responses to “Praying in the recession”

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  1. Mary :

    Your website is very inspiring and uplifting in these dark day of global recession. Prayer is very important to the nation to guard all God’s people through tough times. O Sacred Heart of Jesus I place my trust in thee that all families especially in Ireland have enough to keep them going until things improve.

    UnitedKingdomflag

  2. Mike :

    At times of prosperity we thank you Lord. At times of hardship we thank you Lord. We remember Job, long ago, you tested him. We remember Abraham whom you also tested. You ask us what is important to us, what we hold as sacred in our lives.
    For all is passing, nothing is permanent in this life, even the joys we experience soon will pass.
    It is only our love and communion with You that will last.

    Australiaflag

  3. Kelly :

    It is profoundly meaningful to hear the comments on this forum voiced by people from all over the world. It is a welcome respite from the dour reports we hear in the news each day. Thank you for these sincere expressions of your hearts and blessings to each of you.

    USA(WA)flag

  4. Hugh :

    For the first time today I read the comments here although for some years now I have known this site. My prayers are now and then only, but my wife has noted that I am a more full companion on the days I stopped at Sacred Space.
    The thoughts of others here suggest a perfect stopping place on the scale between “mysticism and politics” It is a point where from another war zone a story was told of a damaged statue of Christ with the legend “I have no hands but yours”
    Led astray by the cry “Greed is Good” our leaders in many facets of life will take some time to find a true path to prosperity and social good.
    For now we need look no further than the door to find those we can help and carry one another through danger and nearer to true happiness. In the old Irish proverb “Is goirre Cabhair Dé ná an Doras” – The help of God is nearer than the door.

    Irelandflag

  5. Sue :

    Thank you for the opportunity to read through these comments. It is a wonderful relief to realize we are not alone in our worries and troubles, that there are thousands of people around the world worrying on a personal level about how they and their family will survive these times. Working 14 hour days all week but praying all day through their work, good deeds and prayers on a global basis for relief and peace for all of mankind. Faith has been my constant companion throughout life, it has been sorely tested but never completely espounged. He is always with us and with Him nothing is impossible. God bless us all.

    Australiaflag



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