HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY !
Memorial Day is a time to remember all those who have sacrificed to protect us and bring us peace and with that in mind, I wanted to share with you a person I believe is trying strongly to bring about peace at the exclusion of war. That person is Pope Francis, whom I like to refer to as the “kissing Pope” as this picture clearly defines.
(Please note all pictures of the Pope, the letter below and all news sources are from News. va English and Vatican Insider I’ve included their links at the end)
As Pope Francis was preparing for his trip to the Holy Land he asked for prayers and said this trip was personal and spiritual. I didn’t expect to read much about his trip in the coming weeks due to this statement however, he surprised me as usual. News via English printed a letter he wrote to the muslim community leaders in Jerusalem that read:
Pope Francis visits the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem:
Jerusalem, 26 May 2014
Dear Muslim Faithful, Dear Friends,
I am grateful for the opportunity to meet with you in this sacred place. I thank you for the courteous invitation you have extended to me and, in particular, I wish to thank the Grand Mufti and the President of the Supreme Muslim Council.
Following in the footsteps of my predecessors, and in particular the historic visit of Pope Paul VI fifty years ago, the first visit of a Pope to the Holy Land, I have greatly desired to come as a pilgrim to the places which witnessed the earthly presence of Jesus Christ. But my pilgrimage would not be complete if it did not also include a meeting with the people and the communities who live in this Land. I am particularly happy, therefore, to be with you, dear Muslim faithful, brothers.
At this moment I think of Abraham, who lived as a pilgrim in these lands. Muslims, Christians and Jews see in him, albeit in different ways, a father in faith and a great example to be imitated. He became a pilgrim, leaving his own people and his own house in order to embark on that spiritual adventure to which God called him.
A pilgrim is a person who makes himself poor and sets forth on a journey. Pilgrims set out intently toward a great and longed-for destination, and they live in the hope of a promise received (cf. Heb 11:8-19). This was how Abraham lived, and this should be our spiritual attitude. We can never think ourselves self-sufficient, masters of our own lives. We cannot be content with remaining withdrawn, secure in our convictions. Before the mystery of God we are all poor. We realize that we must constantly be prepared to go out from ourselves, docile to God’s call and open to the future that he wishes to create for us.
In our earthly pilgrimage we are not alone. We cross paths with other faithful; at times we share with them a stretch of the road and at other times we experience with them a moment of rest which refreshes us. Such is our meeting today, for which I am particularly grateful. It is a welcome and shared moment of rest, made possible by your hospitality, on the pilgrimage of our life and that of our communities. We are experiencing a fraternal dialogue and exchange which are able to restore us and offer us new strength to confront the common challenges before us.
Nor can we forget that the pilgrimage of Abraham was also a summons to righteousness: God wanted him to witness his way of acting and to imitate him. We too wish to witness to God’s working in the world, and so, precisely in this meeting, we hear deep within us his summons to work for peace and justice, to implore these gifts in prayer and to learn from on high mercy, magnanimity and compassion.
Dear brothers, dear friends, from this holy place I make a heartfelt plea to all people and to all communities who look to Abraham: may we respect and love one another as brothers and sisters! May we learn to understand the sufferings of others! May no one abuse the name of God through violence! May we work together for justice and peace! Salaam!
This letter and meeting to me is beautiful and shows me a humble man that has emptied himself of ego allowing room for the Holy Spirit to dwell and lead. This is peace making in the works. He met and prayed with Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew attempting to end a 1,000 year schism between Catholics and Orthodox at eh “Holy Sepulchre”. Is this beautiful or what? Can you imagine the thoughts of those watching such a monumental sight?
He attempted to bring an end to the war in Syria. Pope Francis, at the end of Holy Mass in Bethlehem, just said: “I invite President Mahmoud Abbas and President Shimon Peres to raise together with me an intense prayer to invoke to God the gift of peace. I offer my house in the Vatican for this prayer meeting.”
He prayed at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem with a Jewish Rabbi and a Muslim
He paid tribute and respect to Holocaust survivor Sonia Tunik- Geron at Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem memorial and prayed at the tomb of the ashes of victims.
Let me remind you all that this all took place in just “three days!” This is peace in the making peace by healing with a gentle kiss, words and gestures. This is a model for us to follow and I felt apropos for sharing on Memorial Day. This to me represents peace, peace and more peace hopefully to come.
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