Praying for Peace

“Violence never leads to peace, war leads to war, violence leads to violence.” So said Pope Francis, who has asked that today be a day or prayer and fasting to end the violence in Syria. My parish here in the Twin Cities and many others in this archdiocese and others will hold special Masses for peace this morning or afternoon.

Will my fasting today make it less likely President Obama will order a strike on Syria? Will my prayer for peace make any difference? If instead of prayer and fasting I go hiking today and eat a big fancy dinner will I jeopardize the prospects for peace?

Perhaps not. In fact, assuredly my individual efforts alone mean nothing.

But I believe Pope Francis is right that “the world needs to see gestures of peace and hear words of hope and of peace.” And so I will be accepting the pope’s invitation today, extended to “each person, including our fellow Christians, followers of other religions and all men of good will” to participate in today’s day of fasting and prayer.”

I hope you, too, will add your voice in “invoking God’s great gift of peace upon the beloved nation of Syria and upon each situation of conflict and violence around the world.”