They all need our help in the long term; let us not fail them…
After the loss of life caused by tropical storm Ondoy (international name Ketsana) in Metropolitan Manila and its environs, Pinoy Catholic reports that the outgoing Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop (which we take to mean His Grace the Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz) has urged his flock to pray an oratio imperata for the victims of the disaster. The prayer, from Pinoy Catholic, states:
Oh, God our Father:
In faith we acknowledge your paternal care over us, your sons, daughters and children. In hope we trust in your divine providence of giving us wisdom and courage as we face the challenges in life. In love we invoke your help and guidance during these difficult days of death and destruction in our dear country.
Our is a prayer of thanksgiving for once again reminding us that ours is an imperfect world, that heaven is not on earth and that nature every now and then tells us not to abuse her. Ours too is a prayer of repentance for calling upon you when we are in need and desperation but forgetting you in favourable times and pleasing occasions. Ours as well is a prayer of petition as we say:
Grant eternal peace to those who lost their lives. Embrace the children who died in their innocence. Help those who are hurt and cure those who are sick.
Encourage those who suffer the destruction of their homes and properties, and to once again stand up and rebuild their future.
Bless all those who extend their helping hands to those in need of food, shelter and clothing, who share their time, talents and resources with others.
Inspire more people to be men and women for their neighbors, convinced that the more they are for others, the taller they stand before you.
Spare us please from other natural disasters and devastations if this be according to Your will and for our own spiritual good and growth.
Likewise, in view of the advent of a possible supertyphoon, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reports that Auxiliary Bishop Lucilo Quiambao of the Archdiocese of Legazpi has requested Filipinos to pray an oratio imperata for deliverance from calamities. The text of the prayer, from this post on The Splendor of the Church, is reproduced thus:
Almighty Father, we raise our hearts to You in gratitude for the wonders of creation of which we are part, for Your providence in sustaining us in our needs, and for Your wisdom that guides the course of the universe.
We acknowledge our sins against You and the rest of creation. “We have not been good stewards of Nature.
We have confused Your command to subdue the earth.
The environment is made to suffer our wrongdoing, and now we reap the harvest of our abuse and indifference.
Global warming is upon us. Typhoons, floods, volcanic eruption, and other natural calamities occur in increasing number and intensity.
We turn to You, our loving Father, and beg forgiveness for our sins.
We ask that we, our loved ones and our hard earned possessions be spared from the threat of calamities, natural and man-made.
We beseech You to inspire us all to grow into responsible stewards of Your creation, and generous neighbors to those in need.
We note too that the Most Reverend Angel N. Lagdameo, Archbishop of Jaro, has approved the recitation of a slightly modified version of this prayer, according to The News Today. The difference is that it ends thus:
This we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Our Lady of salvation, pray for us. (May be substituted with the patron saint of the parish)
Let us unite in prayer through Christ our Lord, for as the angel assured our Blessed Mother, “with God nothing is impossible” (St. Luke 1:37). Nor do we pray alone, for Pinoy Catholic reports that our brethren in the one true Church, even amid their own tribulations, are also storming heaven for our people: “Pray for your brothers and sisters in the Philippines,” said Patrick Madrid, the renowned convert. Pope Benedict XVI himself, according to Asia News, conveyed at some length his sympathy with the Philippines through its Ambassador. Therefore, for all who perished we pray the ancient prayer of the Body of Christ: “Eternal rest grant unto them, oh Lord,/ and let perpetual light shine upon them./ May they rest in peace. Amen.”
Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine;
Et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Requiescant in pace. Amen.
We should also include in our prayers the other victims of Ketsana in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, the casualties of the earthquakes in Sumatra, Indonesia, as well as the tsunami victims in the Samoas and Tonga. Finally, let us also not stop giving aid to those who survived, those whose homes were destroyed or inundated, and those who, having returned to their homes, saw their means of their livelihood destroyed. They all need our help in the long term, and not merely in the week after the deluge; let us not fail them.
May God bless us all.
Update (2012 August 09): In view of the flooding caused in Manila and its adjacent areas due to inclement weather, we likewise recommend that readers request for the intercession of St. Genevieve, Patron Saint of Calamities. Let us remember that as one body in Christ (1 Corinthians 12, especially v. 26), which includes the faithful in heaven (see Revelations 5:8), our prayers and works in Him (cf. Philippians 2:12-13) form a potent avenue of aid for the whole Church (cf. Colossians 1:24). Prayers for her intercession are reproduced on this website.
*Clarification: Oratio imperata literally means ‘commanded prayer’ (from the Latin oratio, ‘prayer’ and imperare ‘to command’). In the usage of the one true Church (cf. Catholic Culture, citing John A. Hardon, S.J.), an oratio imperata is a special prayer, not otherwise included in the liturgy, that the Pope or the local ordinary may direct to be said at the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Technically, then, the above orationes imperatae of Archbishop Cruz and Lagdameo and Bishop Quiambao are not obligatory in the canonical sense, at least not outside their respective dioceses; but Filipinos may voluntarily pray them, or some other appropriate prayer, in the spirit of solidarity. We ourselves will, due to theological reservations, replace the second prayer; but in any case, let us pray.