21 September 2018
St Matthew, apostle
Priests, religious and lay people
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
“peace is a gift of God entrusted to us”
This was the theme chosen by St John Paul II for the World Day of prayer in 1982. Peace is indeed God’s gift but also a task. In fact, he adds: “God’s gift of peace is therefore also at all times a human conquest and achievement”.
There is, in each one of us, a deep desire for peace: inner peace, peace in our families, in our country and in the whole world.
Fifty years’ ago, launching the day of prayer for peace, Blessed Paul VI wrote: “Peace cannot be based on a false rhetoric of words… Nor can one rightly speak of peace where no recognition or respect is given to its solid foundations: namely, sincerity, justice and love…”
None of us can remain indifferent because it “leads to self-absorption and a lack of commitment. It thus contributes to the absence of peace with God, with our neighbour and with the environment.” (Pope Francis, message for peace 2016)
The events experienced during the past few days clearly show how far we are from achieving the goal of becoming a peaceful nation.
I therefore call our diocese to have a week of prayer for peace in our country, starting from Sunday 23rd September until Sunday 30th September. During this week:
- I ask the priests that, while keeping the readings of the day, the prayers of the Mass for “The preservation of Peace and Justice” be said daily, including Sundays (The Roman Missal 30, page 1113), together with Eucharistic prayer V.4 “Jesus who went about doing good”;
- I ask all the people of God to pray daily in their families with the words attributed to St Francis of Assisi: “Lord make me an instrument of your peace” asking God to help us see how each one of us can practically work for peace;
Let us all to pray particularly for the gift of wisdom upon those involved in any type of leadership remembering what James says on Sunday: “the wisdom that comes down from above is essentially something pure; it is also peaceable, kindly and considerate; it is full of mercy and shows itself by doing good; nor is there any trace of partiality or hypocrisy in it. The peace sown by peacemakers brings a harvest of justice. ” (James 3: 17 – 18)
Fraternally Yours in Christ and Mary Queen of Peace,
+ José Luis Ponce de León IMC
Bishop of Manzini
Prayers can be downloaded by “right-clicking” on the images below