June 2017

Pope's Prayer Intention

National Leaders: That national leaders may firmly commit themselves to ending the arms trade, which victimizes so many innocent people.

Urgent Prayer Intention

War and Terrorism: May the Holy Spirit grant peace to the entire world.  May He heal the wounds of war and terrorism, which most recently struck innocent civilians in London.  Let us pray for the victims and their families.

In his Farewell Address, President Eisenhower, said “we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence by the military-industrial complex.” Military arms, while part of legitimate defense, are also big business. “We annually spend on military security alone more than the net income of all United States corporations.” This reality has an “economic, political, even spiritual” influence on everyone.

Selling arms or giving them as aid has grown since 1961. The world’s arms trade went from $35 to $70 billion in 2011. It’s now approaching 100 billion and of this, the U.S. has 33% of the share while Russian has 25%. The U.S. provides arms to 96 countries. There also exists a huge black market that fuels terrorism, wars, and other violence.

Addressing the U.S. Congress, Pope Francis said we need “to end the many armed conflicts throughout our world. Here we have to ask ourselves: Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade.”

He asked Italian children “why is it that so many powerful people don’t want peace? Because they live on war! The powerful, some of the powerful, profit from the production of arms and they sell arms to this country which is against that one, and then they sell them to the one that goes against this one. It is the industry of death! And they profit.”

Greed fuels the arms trade: “You know, greed does us so much harm. When we see that the economic system revolves around money and not around the person, but around money — so much is sacrificed and war is made to protect the money. And because of this, many people don’t want peace. There is more profit with war! Money is earned, but lives are lost, culture is lost, education is lost, so many things are lost.”

Discussion

Disarmament—laying aside military weapons— depends upon the disarmament of hearts. In what ways is my heart “armed” and ready to fight?

Scripture

Isaiah 2: 2-5 When God’s instruction is followed and his will is done, then weapons of destruction will be turned into farming implements. The inconceivable sums of money that are spent on weapons will be used to provide for the poor of the world.

May 2017

Pope's Prayer Intention

Christians in Africa: That Christians in Africa, in imitation of the Merciful Jesus, may give prophetic witness to reconciliation, justice, and peace.

Urgent Prayer Intention

Coming soon!

On November 30, 2015 security was tight in PK5, a small district in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic. In the previous three months, clashes between Christians and Muslims resulted in over 100 deaths. Undeterred, Pope Francis ventured into the neighborhood as a witness to reconciliation.

He said: “We are well aware that the recent events and acts of violence which have shaken your country were not grounded in properly religious motives. Those who claim to believe in God must also be men and women of peace. Christians, Muslims and members of the traditional religions have lived together in peace for many years. They ought, therefore, to remain united in working for an end to every act which, from whatever side, disfigures the Face of God. Together, we must say no to hatred, no to revenge and no to violence, particularly that violence which is perpetrated in the name of a religion or of God himself.”

Africa is a wounded continent. It is bleeding from tribal, racial, and religious conflicts. As the European colonial powers departed in the 20th Century, they left behind a legacy of corruption and exploitation of resources that continues. For healing and change to occur, mercy is required.

Visiting a refugee camp, Pope Francis said: “We must work and pray and do everything possible for peace. But without love, without friendship, without tolerance, without forgiveness, peace is not possible.”

Pope Francis challenged government officials: “Everything must be done to protect the status and dignity of the human person. Those who have the means to enjoy a decent life, rather than being concerned with privileges, must seek to help those poorer than themselves. In effect, our human dignity is expressed by our working for the dignity of our fellow man.”

Working to safeguard human dignity means “avoiding the temptation of fear of others, of the unfamiliar, of what is not part of our ethnic group, our political views or our religious confession. Unity, on the contrary, calls for creating and promoting a synthesis of the richness which each person has to offer. Unity in diversity is a constant challenge, one which demands creativity, generosity, self-sacrifice and respect for others.”

Praying for African Christians, we commit ourselves to imitating the Merciful Jesus and giving prophetic witness to reconciliation, justice, and peace in our own lives. Reflection and

Discussion

Why is justice not enough to bring about peace? What role does the purification and healing of memories play in the reconciliation that can lead to peace?

Scripture

Luke 24: 33-38 On the cross Jesus did not retaliate, asking the Father to take vengeance and to punish those who crucified him. He asks the Father to forgive them.

2 Peter 2: 21-25 Jesus, the only innocent and sinless one, suffered and died on the cross to take away the sins of the world and to bring healing.

For Reflection:

Pope Francis’ Address upon arriving in Kenya, November 2015: http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/speeches/2015/november/documents/papa-francesco_20151125_kenya-autorita.html

Pope Francis’ Address to Government Officials in the Central African Republic: http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/speeches/2015/november/documents/papa-francesco_20151129_repubblica-centrafricana-autorita.html

Pope Francis’ Address to Young People at the beginning of a Reconciliation Service in the Central African Republic: http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/speeches/2015/november/documents/papa-francesco_20151129_repubblica-centrafricana-veglia-preghiera.html