PRAYING WITH THE CHURCH

1/2/2022 3:09:42 PM
January 2022

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INTENTION : We pray for all those suffering from religious discrimination and persecution; may their own rights and dignity be recognised, which originate from being brothers and sisters in the human family.

Each year, millions of Christians around the world participate in various International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. We thank you on behalf of all those millions of beleaguered Christians living in areas where faith costs the most.

We have to speak for the 200 million Christians worldwide who live under the various types of persecution. We have to talk against those oppressive regimes where atrocities still happen. We do not speak up enough as the Church in the free world, and we do not speak enough to God through prayer about the issue. We also do not speak enough to and through our governments.

What is the solution? The Bible teaches us: forgiveness and reconciliation bathed in prayer

Around the world the situation is the same: the sufferings of people cannot cope without our help. But what is the solution? The Bible clearly teaches us: forgiveness and reconciliation bathed in prayer.

In one night, I was in a Christian town totally destroyed in one night by a wild Muslim mob, leaving 10,000-20,000 Christians homeless, seeing all their possessions destroyed. We had a big gathering of Christians and Muslims right afterwards, and we spoke about forgiveness and reconciliation.

Why? Because life goes on even during and after persecution! We have to look for those opportunities, not just the needs, not just the crises, but the opportunities and the solutions that God gives to those dedicated to him.

On that very same day, I received a telephone call from a prominent Imam [Muslim leader] of that country. He said, "Brother Andrew, can you please come and pray with me? I am very sick!"

So I decided to take a local pastor with me who had just been released from prison; a man who had suffered because of the Muslims. Together, along with other members of our Open Doors team, we went to see him. Then I began to pray, and I laid my hands on this Imam, and as I was praying I felt a hand on top of my hand. It was the pastor who had just come from prison. What a perfect illustration of the teaching of Jesus: pray for those who persecute you.

As followers of Christ, we must take a bold step: we must shed the "enemy image" we have of those who persecute us. Because the moment we have an enemy image of anyone, God's love can no longer work through us to reach them! We must pray for and even love those who hate us.

I'm willing to die for Him, and I'm also ready to die for you.

So, in reality, the way Christians live out their lives before others is the most powerful message we can share. It far transcends the words or methods we may try to employ to impact a needy world in the face of the challenging question, "Who is God?". Christians must be able to point to our hearts and say, "Here is God! He lives in me. And I'm willing to die for Him, and I'm also willing to die for you because that's what He did for us on the cross at Calvary!" Nothing else will work in this age of confrontation unless and until every Christian is not only willing to give their lives, but one day does it.

I challenge the Christians of the world to pray for their persecuted brothers and sisters, to act on their behalf and to live out the life of Jesus in this needy world around us. Only then we will see a radical change take place in the lives of people. Only then we will see the love of Christ replace the hatred of this world.

Author: Brother Andrew

founder of Open Doors

SHATTERED DREAMS

For decades, it seemed that the world had learned a lesson from its many wars and disasters and was slowly moving towards various forms of integration. In some countries and regions, attempts at reconciliation and rapprochement proved fruitful, while others showed great promise.

In our own days, however, seem to be showing signs of a certain regression. Ancient conflicts thought long buried are breaking out anew, while instances of a myopic, extremist, resentful and aggressive nationalism are rising.

Once more, we are reminded that "each new generation must take up the struggles and attainments of past generations while setting its sights even higher. This is the path.

Goodness, together with love, justice and solidarity, are not achieved once and for all; they have to be realised each day.

Fratelli Tutti

O Lord God,

Your Son Jesus Christ suffered and died for us.

In His Resurrection, He restores life and peace in all creation.

Comfort, we pray, all victims of intolerance and those oppressed by their fellow humans.

Remember in Your Kingdom those who have died.

Lead the oppressors towards compassion and give hope to the suffering.

We ask this through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

An Ecumenical Christian Prayer

O God, Trinity of love,

from the profound communion of your divine life,

pour out upon us a torrent of fraternal love.

Grant us the love reflected in the actions of Jesus,

in his family of Nazareth,

and in the early Christian community.

Grant that we Christians may live the Gospel,

discovering Christ in each human being,

recognising him crucified

in the sufferings of the abandoned

and forgotten of our world,

and rising in each brother or sister

who makes a new start.

Come, Holy Spirit, show us your beauty,

reflected in all the peoples of the earth,

so that we may discover anew

that all are important and all are necessary,

different faces of the one humanity

that God so loves. Amen.

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二零二二年 一月  第三百六十二期

和平 之聲  嘉理陵神父

祈願所有遭受宗教歧視與迫害的人,在他們所生活的社會,獲得承認他們同為人類手足的權利與尊嚴。

教歧視和迫害仍然是人類社會常見的可怕的毒瘤,暴露著人心的無知、狹隘、自私、貪婪和醜惡。近幾年規模比較大的迫害是伊斯蘭國迫害雅茲迪人,還有緬甸政府迫害羅興亞人。造成這些迫害的原因不只是因為宗教信仰,還有許多其他複雜因素。有的是為了找替罪羊宣洩怒氣,有的是為了奪取資源,有的是為了滿足掌控一切的慾望。所以,消除歧視和迫害的良藥,就是讓所有人先糾正自己,遵循正確的良心,也要明白每個人的權利和尊嚴。人人生來是平等和自由的,應當彼此尊重。

養手足情誼的方法多種多樣,在社會各個層面都可推動。例如:在學校組織不同宗教的青年活動,讓他們彼此增加了解,這是非常有益的溝通。大眾傳媒也要出版有益於促進不同宗教和諧共處的文章,要避免抹黑或醜化任何宗教信仰的人士。長期的醜化和抹黑會引起歧視、仇視和暴力,使迫害者不把那些受迫害者當作人看待。

為基督徒,除了為世界各地受迫害的人祈禱,也可以透過一些慈善組織,幫助那些受迫害的人,例如:在中東、南亞和非洲一些地區遭受迫害的各教會基督徒。願天主給他們安慰、和平和正義!

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