Pope Francis has asked that today be a day of prayer and fasting for peace:
May the plea for peace rise up and touch the heart of everyone so that they may lay down their weapons and be let themselves be led by the desire for peace.
To this end, brothers and sisters, I have decided to proclaim for the whole Church on 7 September next, the vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace, a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world, and I also invite each person, including our fellow Christians, followers of other religions and all men of good will, to participate, in whatever way they can, in this initiative.
On 7 September, in Saint Peter’s Square, here, from 19:00 until 24:00, we will gather in prayer and in a spirit of penance, invoking God’s great gift of peace upon the beloved nation of Syria and upon each situation of conflict and violence around the world. Humanity needs to see these gestures of peace and to hear words of hope and peace! I ask all the local churches, in addition to fasting, that they gather to pray for this intention.
Let us ask Mary to help us to respond to violence, to conflict and to war, with the power of dialogue, reconciliation and love. She is our mother: may she help us to find peace; all of us are her children! Help us, Mary, to overcome this most difficult moment and to dedicate ourselves each day to building in every situation an authentic culture of encounter and peace. Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us! – from the Angelus message of Pope Francis, Sept. 1, 2013
The following meditative prayer, created by one of our sisters, can help inspire our prayers for peace today:
As a media apostle, I have been reflecting in a particular way about how the media have been used to bring to the world’s attention the tragic situations in Syria, but also how they have been used to incite violence. In response to my reflections, I’ve been praying daily the Pauline Offertory, written by Blessed James Alberione, Founder of the Pauline Family–a beautiful prayer that the media be used to bring about truth, justice, and the kingdom of God. This prayer has become the main source of my intercessory prayer in these days, and I share the first couple of paragraphs, so that others may join in praying for those who are using the media–both in reparation for their misuse in escalating conflicts to war, and in an urgent plea to the Lord that those who use the media to incite others to violence will have a conversion of heart:
in union with all those
who today celebrate the Eucharist
I wish to offer myself, a small victim,
with Jesus, the Victim:
-in atonement for error and scandal
spread throughout the world
through the misuse of the media of social communication;
-to appeal to your mercy for those persons,
who, deceived and seduced
by the influence of these instruments,
stray from Your Fatherly love;
-for the conversion of those persons
who, in the use of these instruments,
reject the teaching of Christ and His Church
and thus warp the minds, the hearts,
and the undertakings of men and women;
-that we may follow Him alone whom You, Father,
in Your boundless love
sent into the world saying:
“This is my beloved Son, hear Him”….