In this troubling time in our world, many of us are longing for someone to turn to . . . someone to calm us down, speak some truth, and point us in the right direction. With the increasing conflict in Syria, many innocent lives have been lost and it is truly heartbreaking.
Nations around the world are up in arms and ready to attack. I don’t want to go into all the politics of this crisis; I want to tell you about the commission that our shepherd has given us.
In an address he made last Sunday, Pope Francis encouraged the people of the world to see each other as brothers and sisters – to treat each other like family. It’s a simple solution to a whirlwind of problems.
When there’s a problem, families talk it out. They negotiate and come to an agreement. They strive to love each other, keep the peace, and find a solution that works for everyone. Blessed Teresa of Calcutta very wisely said, “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”
However, you may feel like you don’t belong. You may feel like the arguments are over your head, or that you are unable to be a part of the solution.
How can we, as Catholics, affect the world? How can you, as teenagers, affect the world? Is the situation in Syria too big and complicated for you to be a part of?
The Pope says absolutely not.
This Saturday, September 7th, we’re invited to pray and fast for an outpouring of peace and blessing upon Syria and any other places in the world where conflict and violence run rampant.
This is how we as Christians can take up arms and fight. Not in a literal way, but with the power of faithful prayer (Ephesians 6:10-17).
Political power will always fall short of the power of God. The power of hate will always fall short of the power of love.
The question is, will the faithful people be willing to invoke the name of the Lord? Will we, as Christians, be willing to love like Christ loves? This Saturday is an opportunity to join the Church and the world in dying to ourselves, and thus becoming more like Christ.
The prayer vigil will be held in St. Peter’s Square, but we can be united with Pope Francis by praying and fasting in our own church communities. As we abstain from eating and drinking, we’ll recall how much we should be hungering and thirsting for peace and righteousness. As we gather together to pray, we’ll remember we’re all brothers and sisters and were loved into existence by the same Father.
It will be a witness to the world that violence and hatred are never the answer, and that the culture of life is strong.
Young people, you play a vital role in this. Promote peace in your families and your schools. Pray for the world and let your heart break for those who are hurting. Your witness, your sacrifices, and your prayers make a difference. You make a difference.
You are a member of this body of Christ, and the body needs you right now (1 Corinthians 12:12).
“Jesus Christ is counting on you! The Church is counting on you! The Pope is counting on you!” – Pope Francis, WYD Rio Closing Mass
Click here for more information about fasting.