“Someone In the Family Is Suffering”

“Someone In the Family Is Suffering” September 25, 2013


While we in the US—Catholics, the media—are still parsing and praying over last week’s papal interview, Pope Francis himself is wasting no time in issuing marching orders (H/T The Deacon’s Bench).

“Am I indifferent or is it like someone in the family is suffering?” he asked.

He asked everyone to be honest with themselves and respond in their hearts: “How many of you pray for Christians who are persecuted” and for those who are in difficulty for professing and defending the faith?

“It’s important to look beyond one’s own fence, to feel oneself as church, one family of God,” he said. Read more.

The Christians of the Middle East are suffering, are being persecuted in ways beyond anything our Protect Religious Liberty signs could begin to encompass. That the media ignore the stories is no surprise: there is nothing sexy, or even new, about people dying because of what they profess, ancient sacred sites being despoiled for political reasons. But there is no excuse for Catholics, as +Francis reminds us. We do not need to spend a single moment pointing fingers or playing into political ideologies. What we are asked to do is to share the news of the family’s suffering, and pray.

Yet we know that some demons—and war and religious persecution are among them—can only be driven out by prayer and fasting. So The Anchoress has issued an invitation:

Please consider joining me in prayer for our brothers and sisters. If you’re not sure what prayers, access some of the podcasts I’ve got over on the sidebar — the Rosary, the Litany to the Sacred Heart of Jesus; your prayers before sleep, theAngelus — offer your Liturgy of the Hours for them; Offer an hourly ejaculation: “God, come to their assistance, O Lord, make haste to help them…”

Because I am having health issues my fasting will be about eating nothing between small meals. If you can fast, consider it, even for half a day. Christians are suffering and their history and place is being erased.

I’m joining her—offering my Friday fast and prayer and Adoration—and I hope you will find a way to do this, too. There was such a sense of hope and consolation when we joined in the Holy Father’s vigil for peace in Syria, and many of you will have been keeping up that prayer and fasting already, so just consider this an enlargement of the circle.

And I am enlarging the circle just a bit more. I invite you to join me in praying, not just for Christians in the Middle East, but for all people (Christians, Jews, Muslims, God’s children all) in the Middle East, and for those everywhere who are persecuted because of their faithfulness. And even tougher—to pray for their persecutors. We got those marching orders straight from Jesus.


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