THE POPE'S MONTHLY PRAYER INTENTIONS
Universal: For Those who have Responsibility in Economic Matters
That economists may have the courage to reject any economy of exclusion and know how to open new paths.
On TV and on the internet, we see daily headlines about the economy.
“The Dow Jones reached another new high,” or “the economy sputtered
again today.” I often feel confused and overwhelmed by these stories.
What is the economy? Who is in charge? Am I powerless to change it? It
can seem that the economy is a sort of giant dragon that needs to be
fed—tax, regulations, innovations, new markets, and more. When it is
fed, it’s happy, and grows fatter. If it isn’t, then it breathes fire,
wipes out a few thousand jobs, and demands more food for tomorrow. Is
this how the economy really works? Is this how it has to work?
This month, Pope Francis asks us to pray, “For those who have
responsibility in economic matters. That economists may have the courage
to reject any economy of exclusion and know how to explore new ways
forward.” Economists have an important role to play in the world today.
Often they are college professors and researchers. They serve as
advisors to businesses and government leaders. They identify and shape
trends and new approaches. They impact everyone—7.5 billion of us—each
day. They often feel pressure to make ‘short term gains’ to satisfy CEOs
and stockholders. But these gains can be like cutting down an apple
tree for quick lumber—at the cost of losing years of juicy fruits. Part
of the problem is our way of looking at the economy. Are record stocks
and GDPs our constant goals? Can we ever tame the beast? Perhaps we need
a new way to look at the situation. Maybe the economy is not a dragon
but more like a garden—where everyone is called to work and everyone is
invited to eat. Different laborers have different roles: weeding,
plowing, harvesting, packing, overseeing.
Regarding the economy, Pope Francis writes, “Authentic human
development has a moral character. It presumes full respect for the
human person, but it must also be concerned for the world around us…
Accordingly, our human ability to transform reality must proceed in line
with God’s original gift of all that is” [Laudato Si, #5].
The economy ought to serve humanity, instead of humanity serving the
economy. Economists must be bold and creative to help us envision new
ways of ‘growing’ the global garden. In prayer and action, we can
support them in this holy, living enterprise.
Who seems to gain the most from the USA economy? Who seems to gain
the least? What could be done to help more people to contribute and
share in the ‘fruits of our economic garden?’ What is one thing I can do
to contribute to an ‘economy of inclusion?’ Examples: help with job
training programs for the poor/elderly; support local businesses that
employ local workers; volunteer at schools/churches in poor/isolated
Revelation 12:7-10 “His angels battled against the
dragon. The dragon and its angels fought back, but they did not prevail
and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. The huge dragon,
the ancient serpent, whois called the Devil and Satan, who deceived the
whole world, was thrown down to earth, and its angels were thrown down
with it. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: ‘Now have salvation
and power come, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his
Courtesy of Apostleship of Prayer