Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Conflict in Syria - A Novel Approach

Military Solution?  Political Solution?  Maybe a better Solution!!

In case you are unaware, there is serious conflict in Syria currently, though there is conflict in Egypt and several hot spots around the world as well. 

But, this conflict has had the element of the use of chemical weapons, though by whom they were used is in question.  And so, President Obama wants to use what is going on there as the buttress for a military solution, though what it is intended to solve is also unclear.  Of course, there is always the political solution, where the parties to this conflict actually communicate with each other directly, or through third parties to attempt to broker a peace.

But, in the midst of all of this sabre rattling, and posturing, and Obama going to the Congress to get them to support him attacking another sovereign country, a sane voice has risen out of the morass that is the current situation in Syria.

Our Beloved Pontiff is proposing that people of goodwill turn to prayer and fasting   Why didn't Obama think of that?

Robert Moynihan of the Moynihan Report has documented what we know at the moment here.

As he reported:

Today Pope Francis took the first, dramatic public action of his pontificate.

During his Sunday Angelus message, he called upon Catholics everywhere — and also all Christians and all men and women of good will — to join him in a day of prayer and fasting for peace in Syria, where civil war has left thousands dead, and the involvement of other powers threatens a still wider war, this coming Saturday, September 7, the vigil of the Feast of the Birth of Mary, the Mother of God.

He asked Catholics everywhere to fast on Saturday along with him, and also to gather in their various parish churches to participate with him as he prays in Rome.

So the world will see something dramatic this Saturday: Pope Francis himself will be in St. Peter’s Square on Saturday evening from 7 p.m. until midnight, praying and fasting with the faithful of Rome and of the whole world, for peace in Syria and in the whole world.

(Some of the logistics are yet clear. Those Saturday evening hours in Rome would correspond to Saturday afternoon from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the eastern United States; it would seem that those hours would be the ones to pray along with the Pope. It is not clear whether the Pope will be present throughout the evening in St. Peter’s Square. Nor is it clear whether he will be praying out loud or in silence during those five hours, or in some combination of the two. Such details have not yet been released.)
 Prayer and Fasting are not new approaches to conflict, but they have fallen out of favor, as the military option has been the go to option, when political ones failed.  Who prays these days?  Well, surprisingly, many of us do.  And so, why not pray and fast with the Pontiff this Saturday, and let God handle the situation.

This is surely not unprecedented.  Maybe you have read of the Battle of Lepanto.  If not, you can do so here.  The victory in that battle was credited to praying the Rosary by the people as requested by Pope Pius V.  It resulted in the Feast Day on October 7 each year we now know as Our Lady of the Rosary. 

We pray for our friends, and we pray for ourselves, and if we have faith, we expect answers, though, if our faith is stronger, we do not have expectations about the particular answers, rather trust that God knows the best answer.

At the time of His Passion, our Lord Jesus Christ went into the garden to pray, and left his disciples to do likewise, but they fell asleep instead.  When he returned, he asked them: "Couldn't you men keep watch with me for one hour?"

The pope is asking us if we can pray with him over 5 hours from 7pm to 12 pm Rome time, 1-6 Eastern Standard Time, and to fast for the day on Saturday.

Military solutions in the middle east have not produced any good results to date, so why is this one going to be any different?  Political solutions are hard to come by when ideologies are so disparate among the factions and other interested parties.  So, why not do what we should have done in the first place and turn to the Maker of the Universe and ask Him for His asnwer?

My dear wife and I will be joining in solidarity with Pope Francis, and many others who see this solution as worthy.  Will you keep watch?

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