Here is part of St Aelred’s Pastoral Prayer, from the section in which he prays for those over whom he is set. It could be prayed by anyone, for all of us have responsibility for someone: ‘Hear me yet further, God most merciful, for those for whom I am compelled and drawn to pray to Thee both by my duty and by my heart’s love. Remembering Thy kindness, I am bold; for Thou, sweet Lord, knowest how much I love them, how I yearn over them, and how my heart goes out to them. … Spread Thou Thy wings, most loving Lord, and shield them; stretch forth Thy holy right hand, Lord, and bless them; and pour into their hearts Thy Holy Spirit, that He may keep them in unity of spirit and the bond of peace, chaste in their bodies, lowly in their minds. May He be there to help them when they pray, and fill them with the unction and the riches of Thy love. … Be in their midst, according to Thy faithful promise; and, since Thou knowest what each of them needs, I pray Thee, strengthen what is weak in them, spurn not their frailty, heal that which is diseased, give joy for sorrow, kindle what is lukewarm, establish what is insecure in them, that each of them may know he does not lack Thy grace in any of his trials and temptations’.

May St Aelred pray for us, and in all of us may the Love of God be deepened. May He draw close to you this day.