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.”

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One thought on “Praying for Peace

  1. I realize this is an unpopular viewpoint, but I wonder if Pope Francis has some animus towards the USA? He didn’t just call for prayers for peace, but against any action by the US. Would he have done the same if it was another major world power? What did he ask of the Soviets? What did he ask of the other countries in the Middle East? “Throw away your weapons?!” I doubt it.
    Jesus called us to be peaceful people…to “turn the other cheek”…but he also told His disciples to take up their swords…and act wisely. In Luke we read the story of the Good Samaritan…who risked major problems if he helped the fallen stranger (just beyond Jerusalem –he was most likely an “enemy” –a Jew). He assisted him medically and even paid for his housing . The “holy” ones –Priest and Levite passed by–not wanting to risk anything.
    God has raised up warriors when needed (e.g., David, Maccabees). Did we learn nothing from the Holocaust? People and nations turned their backs on the hated “Jews”, and let a madman continue to kill, maim both conscientious objectors as well as their enemies. After the war many Germans said “we didn’t know”…a few, more honest, claimed “we turned our backs…we didn’t want to know”. If we do not attempt to destroy the Syrian army’s ability to bomb again and again (napalm as well as Sarin gas), we are walking around the fallen victim. No, we don’t want war, and no, we shouldn’t go beyond limited military action. But if we turn our back on this evil dictator do we not think there will be worse ahead? We are telling every street thug, all the way up to every narcissistic leader that it is OK to proceed –the world will play ostrich and hope the evil will go away. Satan must be dancing. Why not pray for “conviction” of hearts in these dictatorships?

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