Friday, October 28, 2011

The Pope in Assisi

This past week Pope Benedict XVI, leader of the Roman Catholic Church, convened in Assisi, Italy with the leaders of most world religions to reflect and pray about peace. The event did not make the first (or even third) page of the main news media, at least in the United States. It is not the first time that this event took place. 25 years ago, Pope John Paul II called a similar event. It happened just three years before the fall of the Berlin Wall.

This week, in his closing message, Benedict XVI reminded all people (
that while religion is (and was) often used as an excuse to wave violence against others, this is not the true nature of religion. Its goal is instead goodwill and love for all people. Many today reject religion on the base of mistakes/scandals brought about by religious people or by the fact that it limits our freedoms. Sure, religious people and religions have made mistakes in the past and still do today, but that is because even religious people are human.
Assisi in central Italy is famous as the hometown of Saint Francis of Assisi. Here is his most famous, and my favorite, prayer.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

Which statement best applies to your life?
Have you ever observed (or studied) the life of a deeply religious person?
What makes (or made) this person special?
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