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A Franciscan's Prayer
By Daniel Horan, OFM
Source:
Published: Thursday, May 5, 2011
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“As a follower of Jesus Christ, I do not celebrate any human being’s violent death. My prayers go out to the entire world tonight. May the fear that has shaped our world in the last decade cease and may peace prevail. No more war. No more violence,” my Facebook status reads tonight.

On one hand, this news is something that is being lauded on many fronts. NBC Middle East correspondent Richard Engel congratulated the U.S. Special Forces troops that killed Osama Bin Laden and retrieved his lifeless body. It is news that is being hailed as triumphant and celebratory. And I can understand that. As a citizen of the United States, I can appreciate the ways in which the distorted religious and political views of this deceased man have irrevocably changed the landscape of our society.

Yet, I am a Christian. I cannot take joy, regardless of how much I am tempted to be swept up in the celebratory fervor of my fellow citizens, in the death of my brother in our human family. Yes, Osama Bin Laden committed some horrible, terrible things and led a movement that cannot be supported in any form. Nevertheless, he was a child of God no less than your neighbor, son, daughter or self.

Let us not forget that in addition to the more-than 3,000 people who have died on September 11, 2001, many thousands of more have died since that time here and abroad. More people will also die. And every human death, before its natural end, is a tragedy.

If we proclaim to be “prolife” and value the inherent dignity of every human being from conception to natural death, then we must temper our desire to gloat about the death of one man with the reality that any person’s violent and premature death is something to lament. No person’s death is an occasion to celebrate.

So, while many — perhaps most — of the United States will be celebrating this news, let all Christians, all Muslims, all Jews, all believers and non-believers — All members of the human family — pause and take this moment as an opportunity to say “never again!”

Never again to violence.  Never again to fear.  Never again to terrorism and the loss of lives in violent death, no matter who those people are.

May all find peace tonight.


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Peter of Alcantara: Peter was a contemporary of well-known 16th-century Spanish saints, including Ignatius of Loyola and John of the Cross. He served as confessor to St. Teresa of Avila. Church reform was a major issue in Peter’s day, and he directed most of his energies toward that end. His death came one year before the Council of Trent ended. 
<p>Born into a noble family (his father was the governor of Alcantara in Spain), Peter studied law at Salamanca University and, at 16, joined the so-called Observant Franciscans (also known as the discalced, or barefoot, friars). While he practiced many penances, he also demonstrated abilities which were soon recognized. He was named the superior of a new house even before his ordination as a priest; at the age of 39, he was elected provincial; he was a very successful preacher. Still, he was not above washing dishes and cutting wood for the friars. He did not seek attention; indeed, he preferred solitude.</p><p>Peter’s penitential side was evident when it came to food and clothing. It is said that he slept only 90 minutes each night. While others talked about Church reform, Peter’s reform began with himself. His patience was so great that a proverb arose: "To bear such an insult one must have the patience of Peter of Alcantara."</p><p>In 1554, Peter, having received permission, formed a group of Franciscans who followed the Rule of St. Francis with even greater rigor. These friars were known as Alcantarines. Some of the Spanish friars who came to North and South America in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries were members of this group. At the end of the 19th century, the Alcantarines were joined with other Observant friars to form the Order of Friars Minor.</p><p>As spiritual director to St. Teresa, Peter encouraged her in promoting the Carmelite reform. His preaching brought many people to religious life, especially to the Secular Franciscan Order, the friars and the Poor Clares.</p><p>He was canonized in 1669.</p> American Catholic Blog Remember the widow’s mite. She threw into the treasury of the temple only two small coins, but with them, all her great love…. It is, above all, the interior value of the gift that counts: the readiness to share everything, the readiness to give oneself. —Pope John Paul II

 
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