Personal Triumph vs. Global Disaster

Towne Lake Sprint Triathlon 2013These first few weeks of back-to-school have been brutal. There has been so much going on, that I’ve actually thought that breathing into a paper bag might help.

With getting ready for kindergarten for Y, mother’s day out for F, making meal plans, training for the triathlon, (which was on Labor Day..more on that in a bit), family health scares, re-doing our bathroom countertops, and awaiting my dad’s arrival from Spain this next week, I have felt overwhelmed. But forget my personal stuff. What about the Syrian civil war?

Pope Francis called for a day of prayer and fasting today. He spoke in front of a crowd of at least 100,000 people in St. Peter’s Square. Two sentences stand out:

1. “Violence and war lead only to death, they speak of death! Violence and war are the language of death!”.

2. “At this point I ask myself: Is it possible to change direction? Can we get out of this spiral of sorrow and death? Can we learn once again to walk and live in the ways of peace?”.

If you have a moment, pray tonight. Pray every night. I’ve included the prayer from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website at the bottom of this post. It’s beautifully written.

How does so much pile up on our plate? And I don’t even have a 9-5 job! Don’t know what I’d do if I did. But maybe because I don’t, I offer to do much more than is possible and then end up feeling this way.

So, the triathlon went really well. No medal, but personally felt it was my best. The night before the event, Y asked me if I was going to win.

“No”, I said.
“How do you know you won’t win?”
“Because there are a lot of other girls that are better than me.”
“I think you are going to win mami!”
“Thank you baby, but I’m not doing it to win. I’m doing it to challenge myself and finish my goal.”
I’m not sure she understood it, but I know she eventually will.

How do we know who we are if we don’t challenge ourselves, forgive our flaws, sharpen our strengths?

Why do we fight wars? To win what? Territory? Power? Glory?

I believe a simple beginning to solve global conflicts actually starts at home. With our families. How can we even think of solving issues like the Syrian civil war, if we can’t even get along with people in our own family? Practically every single person I know has some sort of problem with a family member. Something so deep and painful that it can’t be forgiven, forgotten, or resolved.

So how in the world are we ever going to live in peace, if as individuals, we can’t communicate or accept the people in our family?

How is a personal victory ever going to mean anything if on the other side of the world, there are mothers crying over their dead children?

We have a lot of work to do, and I suggest we start at home. Making peace with our supposed loved ones. And maybe little by little, we can begin to turn around this “culture of death”, as Father Troy from our church, calls it.

Prayer:

“Almighty eternal God, source of all compassion, the promise of your mercy and saving help fills our hearts with hope. Hear the cries of the people of Syria; bring healing to those suffering from the violence, and comfort to those mourning the dead. Empower and encourage Syria’s neighbors in their care and welcome for refugees. Convert the hearts of those who have taken up arms, and strengthen the resolve of those committed to peace.

O God of hope and Father of mercy, your Holy Spirit inspires us to look beyond ourselves and our own needs. Inspire leaders to choose peace over violence and to seek reconciliation with enemies. Inspire the Church around the world with compassion for the people of Syria, and fill us with hope for a future of peace built on justice for all. We ask this through Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace and Light of the World, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

Amen.

Petition:
For the people of Syria, that God may strengthen the resolve of leaders to end the fighting and choose a future of peace.

We pray to the Lord. Amen.”

 

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