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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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Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi: Mystical ecstasy is the elevation of the spirit to God in such a way that the person is aware of this union with God while both internal and external senses are detached from the sensible world. Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi was so generously given this special gift of God that she is called the "ecstatic saint." 
<p>She was born into a noble family in Florence in 1566. The normal course would have been for Catherine de' Pazzi to have married wealth and enjoyed comfort, but she chose to follow her own path. At nine she learned to meditate from the family confessor. She made her first Communion at the then-early age of 10 and made a vow of virginity one month later. When 16, she entered the Carmelite convent in Florence because she could receive Communion daily there. </p><p>Catherine had taken the name Mary Magdalene and had been a novice for a year when she became critically ill. Death seemed near so her superiors let her make her profession of vows from a cot in the chapel in a private ceremony. Immediately after, she fell into an ecstasy that lasted about two hours. This was repeated after Communion on the following 40 mornings. These ecstasies were rich experiences of union with God and contained marvelous insights into divine truths. </p><p>As a safeguard against deception and to preserve the revelations, her confessor asked Mary Magdalene to dictate her experiences to sister secretaries. Over the next six years, five large volumes were filled. The first three books record ecstasies from May of 1584 through Pentecost week the following year. This week was a preparation for a severe five-year trial. The fourth book records that trial and the fifth is a collection of letters concerning reform and renewal. Another book, <i>Admonitions</i>, is a collection of her sayings arising from her experiences in the formation of women religious. </p><p>The extraordinary was ordinary for this saint. She read the thoughts of others and predicted future events. During her lifetime, she appeared to several persons in distant places and cured a number of sick people. </p><p>It would be easy to dwell on the ecstasies and pretend that Mary Magdalene only had spiritual highs. This is far from true. It seems that God permitted her this special closeness to prepare her for the five years of desolation that followed when she experienced spiritual dryness. She was plunged into a state of darkness in which she saw nothing but what was horrible in herself and all around her. She had violent temptations and endured great physical suffering. She died in 1607 at 41, and was canonized in 1669.</p> American Catholic Blog Lord, keep me in your care. Guard me in my actions. Teach me to love, and help me to turn to you throughout the day. The world is filled with temptations. As I move through my day, keep me close. May those I encounter feel your loving presence. Lord, be the work of my hands and my heart. Amen.

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