Source: Washington Post 4th September, by Drew Christiansen
With no end in sight for Syria’s dreadful civil war, Pope Francis has called for a day of prayer and fasting for peace on Saturday, September 7. With the fecklessness of the international community, and with no prospect that limited military intervention will bring relief to the victims of war, we should be driven to our knees. It is a moment for the church to pray for God to grant peace where men have failed to dampen the fires of war and see no prospect of doing so soon.
The turn to prayer at a juncture like this is not just a Catholic thing. It is a profound human need which others can share, because humanity is face to face with its own powerlessness to prevent the cruelest evils from being done. For that reason, the pope has made his request “a universal invitation” to all men and women “of peace.” In doing so, he is giving voice to humanity’s desire for peace. He is also inviting us to come to grips with our inability to bring about peace and to voice our exasperation at the intransigence of so many now blocking the way to peace.
A letter from Trappist nuns in Syria: “Blood fills our streets, our eyes, our hearts”
Source: ‘Catholic World Report’ Blog, by Alessandra Nucci, 1st Sept 2013 (Visit Blog).
This call to prayer for the ongoing trauma suffered by Syrians is something which can unite all branches of Christianity. Pope Francis has already built up a reputation as someone who can symbolise that unity of spirit and so we should be thinking of more ways of showing our solidarity not just with the people of Syria ( and God knows there are so many other almost forgotten places of suffering like Zimbabwe, the Cong, Iraq, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh…) but with each other as followers of Christ.