For peace in the Holy Land
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
The Holy Father Benedict XIV keeps appealing to the world for peace. Since this is the most significant issue. Perhaps we all do not realise what war is and what disaster it brings. One should recall the year 1939, the horrible September days and then the next months and years, those ashes, those millions of people killed, those tears and despair. Young generations must have seen the short documentaries from those days – people being driven like cattle, transported on the trains, used to transport animals, from which those who died were thrown out just like that, not mentioning the horrible cataclysm, which the concentration camps, gas chambers killing millions, were. The gulags and terrible endless areas of the former Soviet Union belong to another chapter. Innocent people who were uprooted by the servicemen were killed and one cannot call it otherwise as horrifying barbarism and world disaster. Therefore, those who saw all those things, said to themselves after 1945: peace is the basis of life and true development and you should do your best to keep it. Thank God, Europe has succeeded to live without war for so many years but we cannot say this about all European nations since we had the war in the Balkans, including bloodshed which neighbours prepared for neighbours, and there were other conflicts. We look at them fearing another tragedy, fearing that another irresponsible man could provoke war. At the same time, we painfully experience what is happening in the Holy Land today, where – like 70 years ago here – innocent people, especially women and children, are being killed, and where there are two conflicting parties that hate each other; parties that do not use all their energy and intellect for peace but to harm their enemies as painfully as possible. And there is no mercy. There is absolute, almost brutal, cruelty. The fact that journalists write so little about that is astonishing. It is true that access to information is very difficult. Nobody, even humanitarian help, is allowed to enter the Gaza Strip. Only God’s power can save us because the Holy Land is in some sense our common property; because it is the land of God’s revelation to people. Therefore, the appeal for peace is very much justified. The Holy Father Benedict XIV keeps appealing for peace and keeps praying for peace. Let us respond to his appeal. But it would be good if we thought about truly powerful prayer; if we joined the call of Fatima, asking the Most Holy Mother who appeared in Fatima to support our prayers for peace. Let us ask Jesus, who prayed, taught and made miracles in the Palestinian land, to make people collect themselves, forgive one another so that the world understands that war does not solve conflicts for good but it makes people take revenge and destroys the possibility of development. This year we are celebrating the 2000th anniversary of the birth of St Paul the Apostle who was so much connected with this land. Let him be the patron of Christians’, and non-Christians’, prayers (he was the Apostle to the Gentiles) in the intention of peace in the Holy Land. Nowadays, this prayer is a challenge to priests, religious congregations, to all those who pray the Rosary. Let us pray for all these poor people who die because nobody can help them. Let us also pray for those who decide to murder, whose thinking is controlled by thirst for war. Let them all realise that war, killing, never leads to anything good. Let us use our imagination and we will see that man has been created to peace and God’s peace should always be in his heart. If peace fills people’s hearts it will fill the earth, most of all the Holy Land.