By Fr. Bjorn, OES I would like to begin with one of my favorite prayers, which is the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi:
Oh God, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love, Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; Where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek To be consoled as to console, To be understood as to understand, To be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; It is in pardoning that we are pardoned; It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life."
Our hearts are deeply hurt to hear of the senseless violence throughout the world in recent weeks. For the refugees of Syria, the people of Paris, and those who live in areas where war is a daily occurrence, we life up our prayers in hoped that the burdens of those who suffer may be eased and that those whose hearts gave hardened may know the gentleness and loving kindness of God.
It is easy to tell ourselves, if we live in areas where large-scale violence is not a regular occurrence, that it is not our job to care for strangers who are worlds away from our comfortable couches and flat screen TVs. It is easy to minimize the terrors they face; to place blame on a person or group, which usually leads to judgement of all who are associated, through our own ignorance, with such groups.
I find these things completely unacceptable. While I can not afford to travel to these places and physically help, and I am unable to donate to relief efforts, there is very little I can do for these poor, unfortunate souls but to pray.
And so I ask you to join with us in prayer for all those who live in a state of terror, as well as those falsely scapegoated for the heinous acts of violence, fear and hatred.