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Sunday, September 14, 2014
Pope Francis "We contemplate the sign of the infinite love of God for each of us and the source of our salvation." Text/Video Angelus - Prayer appeal for Peace
(Vatican Radio) “We have yet to learn the lesson from the madness of war”, lamented Pope Francis Sunday as he launched two appeals following the midday Angelus prayer with faithful and tourists in St Peter’s Square.The Holy Father appealed for prayers for the United Nations peace keeping mission to the Central African Republic. The Pope noted the peacekeepers will begin their mission Monday and assured the support and prayer of the Catholic Church. He also prayed that violence in the country give way to dialogue, that opposing factions leave aside particular interests and strive to ensure that every citizen, regardless of ethnicity or religion, collaborate to build up the common good.
For the past two years, sectarian Christian and Muslim militias in CAR have been waging war against each other’s communities with horrific violence. Over 2,600 Central Africans have died, and nearly 1 million of the country’s 4.5 million residents have been displaced, creating an urgent humanitarian crisis.
Yet although the country is teetering on the edge of complete chaos, the outside world is paying very little attention. It is one of the world’s forgotten wars.
Pope Francis has described the proliferation of such conflicts across the globe today, as a “third world war” in act. Recalling his visit Saturday to a World War I military cemetery in Northern Italy, and the shocking number of people the Great War killed, the Pope repeated on Sunday that all war is madness and humanity has still not learned the lesson of this madness.
He said "I invite everyone to look at the Crucified Christ to understand that hate and evil are defeated by forgiveness and good, to understand that the response of war only increases evil and death!".
Marking the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, Pope Francis said it is through the Cross of Christ that evil is overcome, death is defeated and hope is restored. The Cross to which Christ was nailed expresses all the negative forces of evil but also all of the gentle omnipotence of God’s mercy.
The Pope also warned against considering the cross a sign of "magic":"Belief in the Cross of Jesus involves following Him on his path. Thus Christians collaborate in His work of salvation by accepting together with Him sacrifice, suffering, even death for the love of God and neighbor".
It’s not just any cross, it is the source of our salvation.
And today the Pope concluded – “we should pray for Christians who are being persecuted and killed because of their faith in Christ. This happens especially there where religious freedom is still not guaranteed or fully realized. It happens, however, even in well-to-do countries which, in principle, protect freedom and human rights, but where in practice believers, and especially Christians, encounter restrictions and discrimination”
Below a Vatican Radio translation of the Holy Fathers reflections before the Angelus prayer:
Dear brothers and sisters,
On September 14th the Church celebrates the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Some non-Christian person might ask: why "exalt" the Cross? We can say that we do not exalt just any cross any or all crosses: we exalt the Cross of Jesus, because God’s love for humanity was revealed most in it. That's what the Gospel of John reminds us in today's liturgy: "God so loved the world that He gave only begotten Son" (3:16). The Father has "given" the Son to save us, and this has resulted in the death of Jesus and His death on the Cross. Why? Why was the Cross necessary? Because of the gravity of the evil which kept us slaves. The Cross of Jesus expresses both things: all the negative forces of evil, and all of the gentle omnipotence God’s mercy. The Cross would appear to declare Christ’s failure, but in reality marks His victory. On Calvary, those who mocked him said, 'If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross "(cf. Mt 27,40). But it was the opposite that was true: it was because Jesus was the Son of God, that He was there, on the Cross, faithful to the end to the loving plan of the Father. And for this reason God has "exalted" Jesus (Philippians 2.9), conferring universal kingship on Him.
So what do we see, when we look to the Cross where Jesus was nailed? We contemplate the sign of the infinite love of God for each of us and the source of our salvation. That Cross is the source of the mercy of God that embraces the whole world. Through the Cross of Christ the evil one is overcome death is defeated, we are gifted life, hope is restored. This is important: Through the Cross of Christ hope is restored. The Cross of Jesus is our only true hope! That is why the Church "exalts" the Holy Cross, which is why we Christians bless ourselves with the sign of the cross. That is, we don’t exalt crosses but THE glorious Cross of Christ, a sign of God’s love, our salvation and journey towards the resurrection. This is our hope.
While we contemplate and celebrate the Holy Cross, we think emotionally of so many of our brothers and sisters who are being persecuted and killed because of their faith in Christ. This happens especially there where religious freedom is still not guaranteed or fully realized. It happens, however, even in well-to-do countries which, in principle, protect freedom and human rights, but where in practice believers, and especially Christians, encounter restrictions and discrimination. So today we remember them and pray especially for them.
On Calvary, at the foot of the Cross, there was the Virgin Mary (cf. Jn 19,25-27). She is the Virgin of Sorrows, whom we celebrate tomorrow in the liturgy. To Her I entrust the present and the future of the Church, so that we all may always know how to discover and accept the message of love and salvation of the Cross of Christ. To Her I entrust in particular the newly wed couples whom I had the joy of joining in marriage this morning, in St. Peter's Basilica. (Emer McCarthy)
Appeals following the Angelus Prayer
Dear brothers and sisters,
tomorrow, the mission ordered by the Security Council of the United Nations will officially begin in the Central African Republic, to promote peace in the country and protect the civilian population, which is seriously suffering the consequences of the ongoing conflict. While I assure the commitment and prayer of the Catholic Church, I encourage the efforts of the international community, which is coming to the aid of the Central Africans of good will. May violence give way to dialogue, opposing factions leave aside particular interests and strive to ensure that every citizen, regardless of ethnicity or religion, can collaborate to build up the common good.
Yesterday I went to Redipuglia to the Austrian-Hungarian cemetery and the Military Shrine…there I prayed for those who died in the Great War. The numbers are shocking, they speak of over 8 million young soldiers who fell and an estimated 7 million civilians. This makes us understand that war is madness, and humanity has yet to learn the lessons from this madness! Because after this war, there was another world war and so many more still going on today. But when will we learn? When will we learn this lesson? I invite everyone to look at the Crucified Christ to understand that hate and evil are defeated by forgiveness and good, to understand that the response of war only increases evil and death! (Emer McCarthy)