Friday, August 4, 2006

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem

Honoring the day our Lord was crucified for the sins of the world, for our own sins, and to reconcile a broken creation to God's infinite holiness, Fridays are, traditionally for Catholics, days of abstinence, penance, and prayer. Penance flows, as Hebrews 6,6 hints, from the realization that we are guilty of blood of Christ; that our sins nailed Him to the Cross. Eamon Duffy, eminent Church historian, wrote an article a few years back in The Tablet on fasting and abstinence that critically asks, Why is Friday no longer a day of fasting and abstinence?

So, in a spirit of penance let us pray for peace throughout the world, for justice and security for all peoples, for the peace of Israel. Might I recommend praying in particular Psalm 130 and Psalm 83. Asking Christians to pray Psalm 83 may seem a bit odd, as it calls up God to wipe out the enemies of Israel. But, whether God changes the hearts of those attacking Israel, or allows Israel to defend itself we can leave to God. It is important to note that militant Islam, of the kind espoused by Hebollah, is an enemy of Christianity, too. Militant Islam has been disastrous for Palestinian Christians and Arabic Christians throughout the Middle East, either forcing conversions or emigration. Let's call not mince words, unprovoked attacks, especially on exclusively civilian targets, is evil. We should pray for an end such evil.

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