03 March 2015

Horrific News From Syria: Another Reminder of Why We Are People of the Cross

I received the following notification from a friend. She wondered if I might write a blog piece on it. I admit I am left entirely speechless by the horror described and threatened. While I sincerely hope this story is not true, at the same time I plead for readers' prayers not only for any innocent victims but for each of us to renew our Baptismal commitments to witness to the fact that in Christ: 
[[For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.]]

After all, this was one of our Mass readings on the very day these brothers and sisters in the Faith are reported to have been taken.
[[Special prayer request:
We have all been horrified by the news coming from Syria. As you know our Vincentian Family is spread across the world. We just got the following prayer request from one of our Vincentian Priests:
From the Vincentian Curia in Rome...
From Sister Monique, via Filles de la Charité, PARIS
Via, John Freund, CM Vincentian Website

Late Sunday afternoon on 1 March 2015, I received a message from M. Francoise, a delegate of the International Society of St. Vincent de Paul, and I managed to reach her by telephone. She was leaving for Paris, and collapsed at the news she had just received: members of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul in Syria were kidnapped, along with their wives and children. The children were isolated and put into cages. Adults who do not deny their faith will be decapitated, and their children burned alive in the cages. M. Francoise had been in regular contact with several of them before all this occurred. She asked me to transmit the news and make a fervent appeal for prayers for these people, and all who are held hostage.

Let us remain fervently united in prayer, and have as our intention the welfare of all brothers and sisters in our Christian faith who are being held hostage.]]

It is especially important to remember that ISIS is intent on inflaming hatred and escalating tensions between Christianity and Islam. We cannot treat ISIS as though it is genuine representative of Islam. We cannot allow this story, how ever true it might be, to manipulate us into betraying our own faith and falling into hatred. Prayer is the only recourse we really have here and the only response which is appropriate.  See also: We Are People of the Cross 1 and We Are People of the Cross 2