Friday, September 6, 2013

Pope Francis calls for a day of fasting and prayer for Syria




Tomorrow, Saturday, is a day of prayer and fasting for Syria and the Middle East:

On Sunday, the Pope declared in his Angelus teaching that Saturday Sept. 7 would be an day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria. The prayer rally will take place in St. Peter’s Square from 7 p.m. to midnight, on the vigil of the birth of Mary, the Queen of Peace. “Let us ask Mary to help us to respond to violence, to conflict and to war, with the power of dialogue, reconciliation and love,” the Pope asked people around the world. “She is our mother: may she help us to find peace; all of us are her children!”

As a Christian Arab myself, the conflicts in the region are particularly heart wrenching for me and for my extended family. Prayer is the only hope for this largely hopeless part of the globe.

For those unfamiliar, fasting means that we restrict ourselves to one main meal during the day, with two smaller meals not adding up to the larger meal. We also forgo snacks. Many people choose to live on only bread and water during a day of fasting.

As for our prayer, I can't think of a stronger spiritual weapon than the Rosary.




Mother Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for all your poor children!




**Thanks to Margo for the USCCB guidelines for this day!




32 comments:

  1. Here are the guidelines: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/global-issues/middle-east/syria/syria-fasting.cfm

    Happy fasting :)

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  2. Thank you, Margo! I added the link in the original post. :)

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  3. Thanks for the reminder Leila, Sawaya's are in.

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  4. Yes this is a great reminder. I just prayed an extra rosary (a little early but...) when I have to pray the rosary by myself I often use CDs or videos. Here is a good one for this intention, since it contains a great prayer for peace at the end of the Rosary. If you like videos check this out. Also it can keep you "on track" with the rosary. I don't know about you but sometimes my mind wanders when I'm saying the rosary myself.
    INTERNATIONAL ROSARY - JOYFUL MYSTERIES (takes 18 minutes)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ql4XRpr1AwY
    ps: if you're slothful and lazy and don't want to say the whole rosary (ha ha just kidding ... kind of - no Catholic guilt there or anything :) here is the concluding prayer for peace, which is really nice in and of itself:
    --"Merciful Father, we are together on Earth, alone in the Universe. Look at us, and help us to love one another. Teach us to understand each other, just as You understand us. Make our souls as fresh as the morning. Make our hearts as innocent as the lamb. May we forgive each other, and forget the past. And may we have peace inside, and in our world, today and forever. Amen."

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  5. For you under CCCB Canadians are asked to donate and partipate in their diocese or local parish's additional day of September 14 for Syria.

    http://www.cccb.ca/site/eng/media-room/announcements/3681-day-of-prayer-and-fasting-for-peace-in-syria-the-middle-east-and-throughout-the-world

    http://www.cccb.ca/site/eng/media-room/statements-a-letters/3682-cccb-welcomes-popes-appeal-for-peace-in-syria

    My diocese hasn't made a statement yet and I don't know about my parish. But thought you'd like to know.

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  6. Participating in Vigil Mass at local Cathedral - followed by Rosary there (every half hour). They will be leading the Divine Mercy Chaplet every half hour in another chapel on the grounds until 5 p.m. - the mass begins at 1 p.m. (EDT).

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  7. The only thing that should not be overlooked is that President Assad must be brought to justice for gassing his own people. Peace alone with no retribution would be a gross injustice.

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  8. Bill, one way or another, he will be brought to justice, either by his own people or by the ultimate Judge. But this war we are about to embark upon does not fit the criteria for a just war.

    I can understand that because you are an atheist you would need that retribution to be on this earth only, by a (former?) superpower like America. But as much as I sympathize (I was quite a hawk in recent years), we cannot go in and bomb or overthrow every evil despot in the world, as other despots -- sometimes more evil -- are right there ready to take their place. That is especially true in the very sad situation of the Middle East, as we have seen.

    The fact that any human being is capable of using chemical weapons on his own citizens is proof of the evil that lurks in the hearts of men. Sin is a very horrific reality of our existence since the fall. Praise God it's not the last word.

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  9. Here is an excellent article by a bishop on this issue:

    http://journalstar.com/lifestyles/faith-and-values/peace-among-dragons/article_38052ac3-edf4-5641-929d-f1e0ca0b212e.html

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  10. Criminals must be brought to justice in this life, not the next. It is the only effective deterrent. What we need to do is convince Russia that Assad is a criminal and must be brought to justice. We can't do it unilaterally. We need the support of the United Nations which means we need Russia to not use its veto power to prevent the passing of a UN resolution against Assad.

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  11. Bill- bring Asdad to justice in this life. Sure. But at whose expence? Is bringing Assad to justice worth the loss of more innocent lives? Is it worth the implotion on a nation to the glee of terrorists who have their own agendas?

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  12. Speaking of Syrians, I have never heard of this woman until today. Many of you may already know her. I find her music stunning and beautiful, fitting for the church Christ founded.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=e5xEYgGr6ms

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  13. "Is bringing Assad to justice worth the loss of more innocent lives?"

    No. It is not worth the loss of innocent lives through collateral damage. If there were a way to take out Assad without collateral damage, we would want to do it. But I doubt that it can be done without the risk of loss of innocent lives, even his family.

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  14. Bill- And that's the point. America would in essence be interferring in what's a civil war that needs to be handled by the Syrians themselves. Aiding the rebels has already made the situation worse since many of the rebels arent Syrians but terrorists from other nations. Its these people along with Assads forces who have been raping and burning. Its not so cut and dry to simply remove Assad with minimal "collateral damage".

    And according to Just War Theory one cannot interfer. It has to be internally dealt with.

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  15. "And according to Just War Theory one cannot interfer. It has to be internally dealt with."

    International law is not based solely on the Just War Theory. If we knew that we could trust the rebels to set up a government that would be in the best interests of the Syrian people, stability in the Middle East and overall World Peace, Assad would be sitting in a jail cell or executed by now. But looking at places like Egypt and Lybia, it is obvious that the cute could be worse than the disease. Muslims are better ruled by a secular dictator than by a democracy. The only reason Assad must be taken out is because International law requires it.

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  16. As someone pointed out, the options we have are all bad ones. And we are so ignorant of Syrian culture and politics that it would be foolish to get involved in a big way, most of all militarily. To too many Americans, all Arabs (and all Muslims) look alike. I know the Obama administration has specialists who are better informed, but I still don't trust them to "get it" as far as the internal situation in Syria.

    Is killing innocent people the only solution? Are we really sure about that? Francis correctly points out that we should pray for some other way.

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  17. "As someone pointed out, the options we have are all bad ones."

    We should have challenged Putin to do something about it and backed away. We should have bombarded him with evidence and said "this is your ally. What are you going to do about him?" We should have taken our case to the United Nations and told them that this one is not on us. If they don't want to address it, neither are we. Instead, we are doing the exact opposite. If the Russians had any sense of decency, they would be the ones intervening.

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  18. About half of the problems in the Middle East can be traced back to U.S. interference either by directly or indirectly removing the political leaders and "bringing them to justice". Saddam Hussein was a horrible man, but it turns out that he was a horrible man who was able to keep the three warring factions in his country from committing genocide. We helped remove the Shah of Iran only to have that country descend into sharia law with worse dictators.

    The list goes on and on. Every time we interfere with internal politics in the Middle East more innocent people suffer, even more than they suffered before we interfered. Will we ever learn?

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  19. We didn't help remove the Shah. The British and the U.S. supported his installation in 1941.

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  20. Barbara, exactly. It took me a while to figure that out.

    And Bill, things were better with the Shah.

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  21. The problem with the Shah was the people didn't support him. He was our puppet and it was obvious to all. It was inevitable that the regime that overthrew him would be anti-U.S. That was a whirlwind that we reaped.

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  22. Bill- So are you saying that the international rules designed by man trump those of God?

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  23. I'm not sure what you mean. If Assad violated international law, it is up to the international court to convict him and the international community to bring him to justice. If he also violated the laws of his religion, then, I suppose that is on his conscience as well.

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  24. Bill- You said that international laws (man made) don't all follow Just War Theory ( which is morality derived by God). So I was asking which you thought was more important: following God or man.

    Just War Theory is Catholic but it's been adopted by many secular philosophers.

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  25. While not breaking down the conditions necessary for war to be just, Augustine nonetheless originated the very phrase, itself, in his work The City of God

    When you ask which is more important, following God or man, are you trying to say following Saint Augustine or following international law? Obviously, the answer is international law.

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  26. Bill- St. Augustine coined the phrase. Sure. But words like Trinity and transubstantiation are also derived words to describe portions of Church doctrine and biblical texts. So too is Just Word Theory. Its a phrase outlined and discussed by SA but is Church doctrine.

    Since the Church is the authority of Christ on earth. Its safe to say Just War Theory being doctrine is God's law. Whereas international law not based on God's law is man's law.

    So are you sure you want to choose international that conflicts with Church doctrine?

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  27. So are you sure you want to choose international that conflicts with Church doctrine?

    I don't really know that much about international law, but I assume it is based on sound reason and logic. If that is indeed the case, yes, I much prefer it to Church doctrine. If only because it would be more up to date. Some Church doctrine goes back hundreds, if not thousands of years. That can't be a good thing.

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  28. So, Bill, ancient philosophies and ideas/ideals are necessarily outdated and bad?

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  29. Yeah and I might add are you saying that doctrine such as the Trinity or transubstantiation could be wrong? Is it all wrong or just some of it?

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  30. Some need updating. I'm sure there was a time when not eating pork had a practical reason. It doesn't any more. Others are as useful today as when they first came out. It depends. "Be fruitful and multiply" meant more before we had 7 billion people. Sorry. That might not be a good example.

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  31. Bill, you know the difference between doctrine (and the universal moral law) and disciplines, right? It's crucial:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2010/09/catholics-you-must-understand-this.html

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