Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

6/12/2014 (7 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Like his namesake, Francis of Assisi, Pope Francis is an instrument of peace.

This prophetic and historic meeting happened in the Vatican on Sunday. Francis told those in attendance - Peacemaking calls for courage, much more so than warfare, the courage to say yes to encounter and no to conflict: yes to dialogue and no to violence; yes to negotiations and no to hostilities; yes to respect for agreements and no to acts of provocation; yes to sincerity and no to duplicity". We  call upon God in an act of supreme responsibility before our consciences and before our peoples.  We cannot bring about peace on our own, and that is why we are here. Because we know and we believe that we need the help of God. We have heard a summons, and we must respond.  It is the summons to break the spiral of hatred and violence, and to break it by one word alone: the word brother"  But to be able to utter this word we have to lift our eyes to heaven and acknowledge one another as children of one Father.

This Pope believes in the power of prayer. He also carries in his heart a burden for peace in the Middle East. He knows there is an indispensable connection between the two. He wants to unleash the Love of God, the most powerful weapon we have against the growing scourge of violence in the land where the Prince of Peace walked, talked, loved, lived, died and was raised.

This Pope believes in the power of prayer. He also carries in his heart a burden for peace in the Middle East. He knows there is an indispensable connection between the two. He wants to unleash the Love of God, the most powerful weapon we have against the growing scourge of violence in the land where the Prince of Peace walked, talked, loved, lived, died and was raised.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/12/2014 (7 months ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Pope Francis, Patriarch Bartholomew, President Shimon Peres, President Mahmoud Abbas, Peace, Rome, Vatican, Miracle, Holy Land, Jerusalem, Deacon Keith Fournier


CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - After the celebration of Mass in Manger Square, Bethlehem, on the morning of Sunday May 25, 2014Pope Francis issued the invitation:

"In this, the birthplace of the Prince of Peace, I wish to invite you, President Mahmoud Abbas, together with Israeli President Shimon Peres, to join me in heartfelt prayer to God for the gift of peace.  I offer my home in the Vatican as a place for this encounter of prayer.

"I offer my home in the Vatican as a place for this encounter of prayer. In this, the birthplace of the Prince of Peace I wish to invite you, President Mahmoud Abbas, together with President Shimon Peres, to join me in heartfelt prayer to God for the gift of peace.

All of us want peace. Many people build it day by day through small gestures and acts; many of them are suffering, yet patiently persevere in their efforts to be peacemakers. All of us - especially those placed at the service of their respective peoples - have the duty to become instruments and artisans of peace, especially by our prayers.

Building peace is difficult, but living without peace is a constant torment. The men and women of these lands, and of the entire world, all of them, ask us to bring before God their fervent hopes for peace."

On the way back to Rome, Francis was asked about the invitation to the two world leaders by journalists on the plane. He responded:

"The most authentic gestures are those that we don't think about, those that come to us, aren't they? I thought about suggesting it during the trip, but there were many logistical problems, because each one has to consider the territory, and it's not easy.

So I thought about a meeting, and at the end, I came up with this invitation. It will be an encounter to pray, not for the purposes of mediation. We will pray with the two presidents; prayer is important, it helps. Afterwards, each person will return home. There would be a rabbi, a Muslim, and myself."


Like his namesake, Francis of Assisi, Pope Francis is an instrument of peace.  I remember with admiration and hope what occurred as a result of his call for a day of global prayer on September 7, 2013. The world was invited to pray for peace, in Syria, the extended Middle East, and around the world.

In a heartfelt cry the Pope used his Sunday Angelus address of September 1, 2013, to implore the parties engaged in the atrocities in Syria to cease, crying out with prophetic voice, "War begets war, violence begets violence."

He then announced that, on Saturday, September 7, 2013, he would lead a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East and throughout the world. He did what he said and the circumstances changed. That is because God is real - and prayer is powerful.  Pope Francis knows both of these truths and is unafraid to act accordingly.

While US warships were being deployed to the Red Sea in the event of military action taken against Syria - and the US Congress prepared to debate authorizing the use of such force - the leader of over 1.2 billion Catholics asked Catholics and all Christians, other people of faith and all people of good will, to deploy the weapons of peace, prayer and fasting.

This Pope believes in the power of prayer. He also carries in his heart a burden for peace in the Middle East. He knows there is an indispensable connection between the two. He wants to unleash the Love of God, the most powerful weapon we have against the growing scourge of violence in the land where the Prince of Peace walked, talked, loved, lived, died and was raised. 

This is the place where the Word Incarnate began the New Creation. This is the Holy Land. The escalating violence must come to an end. The love of God is the only real lasting means to authentic peace. This is true as individuals, as families, as a Church, - and as Nation-states and a global community.  In a world spiraling out of control, Christians are particularly called to become instruments of peace. Pope Francis is willing to do so.
 
At the Last Supper, Jesus spoke these words to his disciples: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid". (John 14:27)  The path to peace passes through prayer - because peace requires Gods assistance.

This prophetic and historic meeting happened in the Vatican on Sunday. Francis told those in attendance: Peacemaking calls for courage, much more so than warfare, the courage to say yes to encounter and no to conflict: yes to dialogue and no to violence; yes to negotiations and no to hostilities; yes to respect for agreements and no to acts of provocation; yes to sincerity and no to duplicity.

We  call upon God in an act of supreme responsibility before our consciences and before our peoples.  We cannot bring about peace on our own, and that is why we are here. Because we know and we believe that we need the help of God.

We have heard a summons, and we must respond. It is the summons to break the spiral of hatred and violence, and to break it by one word alone: the word brother.  But to be able to utter this word we have to lift our eyes to heaven and acknowledge one another as children of one Father.


The Israeli president Shimon Peres said: "It is within our power to bring peace to our children. This is our duty, the holy mission of parents." The Palestinian President Mahoumoud Abbas called on God to bring a "comprehensive and just peace" to the region. He also quoted St. John Paul II "if peace is realized in Jerusalem, peace will be witnessed in the whole world".

Accompanying Francis throughout the time of encounter and prayer was his friend, the Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I. The two walked together throughout the recent visit to the Holy Land. Again, the joining together of Simon and Andrew was a prophetic sign of the times in which we live. Christian unity is an essential part of any real peace in the place where Jesus walked.

This event was not only historic, it was courageous. It has also met with numerous and differing responses, from utter rejection and opposition, to hope for success, to various brands of criticism. In the Catholic and broader Christian community, it is being parsed and debated, increasingly becoming fodder for theological disputations and endless postings in the blogo-sphere. Some of the discussions are helpful and sincere, others are not.

Thank God for the Pope who is willing to pray and risk for peace in the Middle East.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for January 2015
General Intention:
That those from diverse religious traditions and all people of good will may work together for peace.
Missionary Intention: That in this year dedicated to consecrated life, religious men and women may rediscover the joy of following Christ and strive to serve the poor with zeal.



Comments


More Middle East

War in all but name: Hezbollah rocket attack kills two Israeli soldiers, Israel responds with attacks of its own Watch

Image of Hezbollah launched a rocket attack on an Israeli military convoy which left seven injured and two dead.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Iranian-backed terrorist group that holds major political clout in Lebanon, Hezbollah, may have just fired the first shots of a war with Israel, which could plunge a delicately balanced region into all-out war. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - On January ... continue reading


'We will reach America!' ISIS threatens to behead Obama in an execution video (Warning: Graphic Content)

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"Know, oh Obama, that we will reach America," states a black-clad ISIS militant in ISIS' latest beheading video. "Know also that we will cut off your head in the White House and transform America into a Muslim province." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - This video, ... continue reading


Looking for any chance to execute non-Muslims, Islamic State makes new demands of Japan for release of one hostage Watch

Image of Kenji Goto appears to be still alive, for the time being, though if Japan does not secure the release of Sajida al-Rishawi from Jordan, he too will likely be executed.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Islamic State has apparently killed one of the two Japanese men that it held hostage, releasing an image of what appears to be the decapitated body of one of the two men, and saying that it had killed one of its hostages after Japan failed to pay $200 million ... continue reading


Crucial U.S. ally against terrorism, Yemen's President resigns Watch

Image of Yemeni President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi's resignation, following his prime minister and Cabinet stepped down has left the region especially vulnerable.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Yemeni President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi's resignation, following his prime minister and Cabinet stepped down has left the region especially vulnerable. The resignations came a day after the government and Houthi rebels struck a peace deal meant to end days of ... continue reading


Airstrikes have killed 6,000 Islamic State militants, but signs suggest this won't save Iraq Watch

Image of The Islamic State has been hurt by U.S. airstrikes, but it may not be enough to save Iraq.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The American-led coalition that has been engaged in an ongoing campaign of airstrikes against the Islamic State through much of 2014 has taken a "devastating" toll on the terrorist group, and a U.S. official recently releasing figures for the number of terrorists ... continue reading


Saudia Arabia's King Abdullah has died Watch

Image of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud has died.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The king of Saudi Arabia, Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud has died. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - After suffering from pneumonia and being admitted to the hospital, King Abdullah passed away at 90-years-old.He became King in August 2005, but had been in charge of ... continue reading


Do not appease Iran! Democrat, Republican and Israeli leadership warn Obama about the dangers of a nuclear armed Iran Watch

Image of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will speak before Congress on February 11 about the dangers that a nuclear armed Iran poses to the United States, Israel and the West.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel is set to come to the United States in February and give a speech before Congress about the dangerous issue of Iran. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Netanyahu has already been quite vocal in raising his concerns ... continue reading


Iran, Hezbollah plan 'imminent' joint invasion of Israel's northern Galilee region Watch

Image of Hezbollah said that Jihad Mughniyeh, the son of a prominent commander, and Mohammed Issa, funeral shown here, was responsible for the group's operations in Syria and Iraq and died alongside Tabatabai.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Israeli security sources claim that senior Iranian and Hezbollah figures killed in an airstrike in Syria this weekend were likely planning an "imminent" attack on Israel. Six Iranian army chiefs died alongside five Hezbollah militants when an Israeli helicopter ... continue reading


Yemeni president loses control as Shiite rebels storm the presidential palace Watch

Image of Shiite Houthi rebels have stormed the Yemeni presidential palace, and the Yemeni Minster of Information has declared that the president of Yemen has lost all control.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Yemen may next on the list of Middle Eastern countries whose leadership has changed, following the capture of the presidential palace in Sanna, by a group of Shitte Houthi rebels. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The attack took place on January 20, and led to ... continue reading


'This knife will become your nightmare' ISIS demands $200 million in new hostage video (WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO)

Image of A man dressed in all black, with British accent, threatens the lives of two Japanese men in newest ISIS video.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Two Japanese men are held hostage in the Islamic State's (ISIS) latest act of extremism. ISIS released a video demanding $200 million or the two hostages would be killed. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Kenji Goto Jogo and Haruna Yukawa are featured in the video in ... continue reading


All Middle East News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19
1 Only faith can guarantee the blessings that we hope ... Read More

Psalm, Luke 1:69-70, 71-72, 73-75
69 and he has established for us a saving power in ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 4:35-41
35 With the coming of evening that same day, he said ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for January 31st, 2015 Image

St. John Bosco
January 31: What do dreams have to with prayer? Aren't they just random ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter