As so many Americans were enjoying the last holiday weekend of the summer, Pope Francis issued a call for peace--especially in Syria. He called on the entire world to pray with him. He declared this coming Saturday, September 7, to be a day of prayer and fasting to obtain the gift of peace for Syria. May we all heed this call to prayer. As the Pope said, war just leads to more war, more violence. As Christians let us pray that negotiations not bombs may rule; that restraint, not rage may guide our policies.
Yesterday I was sent a YouTube video of an interview with the actor Jim Caveziel. Jim starred in Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ movie. For Caveziel his role playing meant a transformative experience. He suffered a dislocated shoulder, a 14 inch laceration, pneumonia and other problems while he took part in the filming of Jesus' passion. He suffered the physical hardships as a way to join in Christ's suffering to repair for his own sins. Caveziel went on to say that rather than a "prosperity" gospel Christ preached that we need to take up our cross. He pointed out that the first apostles all suffered for their Christianity. He mentioned some of the martyrs of the 20th century. He also said that we Christians don't always have to blend in to be accepted.
His line, "You were not made to fit in. You were born to stand out" is a meditation worth reflecting on for a long time.
Have you ever made the Sign of the Cross before digging into a restaurant meal? It takes just a few seconds to do so. I do it not to show off but to remind myself and others that God is present. And, that I am a Christian in public and in private. As Paul say "when convenient or inconvenient." Have a blessed first week of September.
Let us keep praying for a peaceful solution to the crisis in Syria and in other Middle Eastern countries.