Pray for Peace as Christ’s Birth Signals New Age
Athaly Jenkinson, East London – Christmas is when the birth of Christ is heralded by angels singing of a new age of peace. We remember that St Francis of Assisi, who erected the first “crib”, was a man of poverty and peace, whose life and the prayer attributed to him help us to overcome the “self-centredness” borne in all our DNAs as survival.
The St Francis Prayer helps us to try to live up to God’s precepts: “love one another” (Jn 13:34); “love your neighbour” (Mk 10:21); and even “love your enemy” (Lk 6-27).
Just before Advent, our parish completed a season of RENEW.
It soon became apparent that we needed the St Francis Prayer to help benefit from the lessons.
Two Fr Ron Rolheiser Southern Cross articles, “Struggle to love our neighbour” and “We must give up our anger” aided us too.
Also, Fr J Rebelo’s “Our peacemakers’ vocation” (Worldwide Dec/Jan 2017) helped. He said we should act daily to defuse potential conflict and promote kinship, and that peace is not cheap, but a divine gift that requires our commitment.
“To bring people to address disagreement, redress relationships that went wrong, demands humility, ingenuity, persistence, and prayer,” he said, recommending the St Francis Prayer.
During RENEW, I read the November 2003 copy of the Knights of da Gama’s LINK.
The Knights pray the version of the prayer distributed by our bishops, who appealed for a year of prayer for Southern Africa from January 1, 1985 (World Day of Peace).
At this time South Africa was still deeply divided and also involved in external conflicts.
Our elections in 1994 were peaceful. We prayed for ourselves, and many people in other countries prayed for us too, and for fellow African nations such as Rwanda.
A 1996 women’s meeting in Australia inspired an appeal for a peace prayer for Africa. It received the Vatican’s blessing and was widely distributed.
The bishops’ Justice & Peace Commission issued a prayer to say every Friday during Lent in 2018 to confront racism, using both the original and modified versions.
Also in The Southern Cross (November 21), Sarah-Leah Pimentel’s “Fight back with love” and Arinze Joseph Ani’s “God’s in your neighbour” helped us live up to the St Francis Prayer.
Let us pray the Peace Prayer:
Let us plead for the help of our Saviour Jesus Christ and his mother, Mary, and the angels, saints, martyrs, holy souls, and our brothers and sisters everywhere to pray with us for our troubled world. Let us say the rosary (or a decade, Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be) and the Fatima Prayer, followed by:
“O God of justice and love, bless us, the people of our country, our continent and the world, and help us to live in your peace.”
“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace: where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, let me sow pardon; where there is discord, let me sow harmony. Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love; to receive sympathy, as to give it; for it is in giving that we shall receive, in pardoning that we shall be pardoned, in forgetting ourselves that we shall fins unending peace with others. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
Let us pray often, alone or with others, and pass the message on across the world. Let us be true peacemakers.