There is no one in this country doubting the fact that this war in Iraq is dividing the country and creating greater factions. We can all argue about how we got into this war. Most of us believe we were given erroneous information, we were manipulated and that this war has done a tremendous amount of harm to the American psyche. Now what?
We all now that we cannot abandon Iraq without protecting the innocent. And we all know we do not want to prolong this situation in Iraq because more innocent people will be killed.
Lent provides us with a wonderful opportunity to make sacrifices, not only personal, but for the sake of others. Catholics grow up over the years hearing that because of the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, we should sacrifice every day during Lent, we give up going to the movies, give up some favorite dessert or perform an act of charity to a person who would ordinarily have no one concerned about them. But this Lent is one that we should make a difference. It means getting actively involved by writing to your Congressman, your Senator or to Washington your thoughts on how we should bring this war to as quick an end as possible.
Each one of us reading this editorial can say, I don't know how to write to my Congressman, they are not going to read it. All of a sudden the excuses for active involvement start to appear. Have you ever tried to use spirituality as a way of asking God to bring this war to an end? For example, have you ever thought that if you made a sacrifice of going to Mass every day for the solider, young men and women in Iraq, asking God to spare them? Do you think God would give you a deaf ear? Maybe your Congressman may not appreciate your letter, but there is no doubt that God would appreciate your prayers on behalf of those who are fighting for us in Iraq.
All of us know the value of diplomacy. All of us know that friend and foe have to sit down at the same table to carve out a map of peace. And some of these discussions for peace, as in the case of Vietnam, might go on for years. But in the meanwhile, Catholics in particular should recognize there is a God in the Heavens who listens to the prayers of all of us. From the New Testament and in literature, we know that faith and prayer can move mountains and more things are brought about prayer than this world dreams of. I have a wonderful privilege of being able to call convents of nuns who pray for special intentions. They are praying for a quick end to this war in Iraq. Their prayers united with your prayers undoubtedly can have a tremendous influence in bringing peace to this world and an end to this war. We all want a quick end to it and a safe end for everyone. But each one, through the power of his prayers, can effect what diplomacy and military skills have not done. Your prayers are needed for the sake of peace to bring our young men and women home. Don’t disappoint them.
Rev Mark Connolly