Saturday, September 7, 2013

Day of Prayer and Fasting

It's not to late.

Even if you had forgotten and aren't reading this until the middle of the day. It's not too late to join in the Day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria. Today, Saturday September 7 Catholics around the world, all 1.2 billion of us along with other Christians and other people of faith, have been asked by Pope Francis to spend this day in prayer and fasting.

Perhaps for health reasons your fasting can only be a very limited fast. Rarely do most of experience real hunger,new have food and clean water readily at hand. Today let yourself feel hunger.

Over the last two years more than 100,000 people have been killed in the violence, including countless men, women and children killed with chemical weapons. My prayer began this morning with "Morning Prayer for the Dead."

Your prayer may be as simple as stoping several times throughout the day to pray the Our Father, or the rosary, or taking moments of silence. Whether we pray as groups or individuals, we believe in the power of prayer to change the world. Right now as you are reading this dedicate this day.

The USCCB has offered the following prayer:

Almighty eternal God, source of all compassion,
the promise of your mercy and saving help fills our hearts with hope.
Hear the cries of the people of Syria;
bring healing to those suffering from the violence,
and comfort to those mourning the dead.
Empower and encourage Syria’s neighbors
in their care and welcome for refugees.
Convert the hearts of those who have taken up arms,
and strengthen the resolve of those committed to peace.

O God of hope and Father of mercy,
your Holy Spirit inspires us to look beyond ourselves and our own needs.
Inspire leaders to choose peace over violence
and to seek reconciliation with enemies.
Inspire the Church around the world with compassion for the people of Syria,and fill us with hope for a future of peace built on justice for all.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace and Light of the World,who lives and reigns for ever and ever.