- Created: Wednesday, 11 July 2018 09:59
Prayer in time of conflict
By the Most Rev. JOHN B. BRUNGARDT
Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Dodge City
Division. Conflict. Our families, parishes, dioceses, communities, countries and world seem to be overwhelmed by polarization. These struggles may be familial, political, religious, legal, or others. At times, we have an intellectual response to a conflict, or we have an emotional response with someone with whom we disagree. Left to ourselves, we can quickly sink into the cesspool of anger. We can dismiss a person due to his beliefs, or reject a person due to her values. What to do?
St. Paul in his second letter to the Corinthians writes of someone in the community causing pain. Although the nature of this conflict is not specified, St. Paul’s admonition is to forgive, encourage, and “to reaffirm your love for him” (2 Corinthians 2:8). This starts with prayer to our Loving Lord. We simply do not have the capacity for dealing with polarization without God. And our relationship with God deepens with prayer. Some scripture to bring to prayer:
• “Cast all our worries upon (God) because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
• “Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus” (Hebrews 12).
• “… that they may be one, as we are one” (John 17:22).
As Catholics, we are strengthened in our prayer life by the sacraments. The Eucharist and Reconciliation assist us to love, give us wisdom to know what to do or not do, what to say or not say, in times of division. Prayer and the sacraments help us to work toward genuine justice and lasting peace in our troubled world.
A prayer intention: Only a priest can act in the person of Christ and change ordinary bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. Only a priest can give sacramental absolution.
Two years ago we began our Vibrant Ministries appeal, of which one of the goals was Alms for Priestly Vocations. Last Lent, we began Fasting for Priestly Vocations. Thank you for your faithfulness in these efforts. We have now begun an intensive Prayer for Priestly Vocations project. We will have a series of articles the next few months on the Eucharist, the source and summit of our lives (this issue on the Eucharist as a Sacred Meal). We have articles on Parish Prayer for Priestly Vocations (see last issue), Family Prayer for Priestly Vocations (see this issue), and Individual Prayer for Priestly Vocations. Pray, asking the Lord to send our boys and single men into the harvest of faith as seminarians and future priests. Pray, opening the hearts of these guys to devoutly pray, humbly listen, and courageously follow Jesus. Pray, also for all vocations: the consecrated life and matrimony. Dear Jesus, let one of the fruits of this prayer be a lessening of this polarization we are experiencing. Thank you all, and remember that Jesus loves us so much!