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Another Call for Prayer and
Fasting for World Peace
John Paul II's Address Prior to the Angelus
VATICAN CITY, MARCH 2, 2003 (Zenit.org).-
Here is a translation of the address John Paul II gave today before
reciting the midday Angelus with the crowds gathered in St. Peter's
* * *
1. Next Wednesday -- Ash Wednesday -- we will begin Lent, a time
characterized by a more acute awareness of the need for conversion
and renewal, during which the faithful are invited to look with
greater intensity at Christ, who prepares himself to fulfill the
supreme sacrifice of the cross.
This year we will undertake the penitential journey toward Easter
with a greater commitment to prayer and fasting for peace,
challenged by the growing threat of war. I already announced this
initiative last Sunday, whose purpose is to gather the faithful in
fervent prayer to Christ, Prince of Peace. Peace, in fact, is a gift
of God to be invoked with humble and insistent trust.
Without surrendering before difficulties, it is also necessary to
seek and go down every possible avenue to avoid war, which always
brings mourning and grave consequences for all.
2. The liturgy of Ash Wednesday invites us to add fasting to prayer,
a penitential practice that calls for a more profound spiritual
effort of conversion, namely, of the heart, with the firm decision
to detach oneself from evil and sin, to be better disposed to
fulfill the will of God. With physical fasting, and even more so
with interior fasting, the Christian prepares himself to follow
Christ and to be his faithful witness in every circumstance.
Fasting, moreover, helps us to understand better the difficulties
and sufferings of so many of our brothers oppressed by hunger,
poverty and war. In addition, it stimulates us to a concrete
movement of solidarity and sharing with those who are in need.
3. Let us dispose ourselves, dear Brothers and Sisters, to
participate intensely in the Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace,
which we will observe next Wednesday.
We will pray for peace in the world, in particular for Iraq and the
Holy Land, especially through the recitation of the rosary, which
will involve shrines and parishes, communities and families. This
collective prayer will rise from very part of the earth through the
intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy and Queen of Peace.
[Translation by ZENIT]
"Go therefore, and
make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the
Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to carry
out everything I have commanded you. And know that I am with you
always, until the end of the world" (Matthew 28:19-20).
"In the presence of
God and of Christ Jesus, who is coming to judge the living and the
dead, and by his appearing and kingly power, I charge you to preach
the word, to stay with the task whether convenient or inconvenient -
correcting, reproving, appealing - constantly teaching and never
losing patience" (2 Timothy 4:1-2).
"Come, Holy Spirit, come and
renew the face of the earth! Come with your seven gifts! Come, Spirit of Life, Spirit of
Communion and Love! The Church and the world need you. Come, Holy Spirit, and make ever
more fruitful the charisms you have bestowed on us. Give new strength and missionary zeal
to these sons and daughters of yours who have gathered here. Open their hearts; renew
their Christian commitment to the world. Make them courageous messengers of the Gospel,
witnesses to the risen Jesus Christ, the Redeemer and Saviour of man. Strengthen their
love and their fidelity to the Church."
Pope John Paul II May 30 1998