Monday, January 26, 2015

United in prayer for Muslim people on Earth

As I read Pope Francis’ address to diplomats on the occasion of our Christmas celebration of the Nativity of Jesus and of the Holy Innocents whose deaths helped save Jesus, and his call for the Muslim world to unite in opposing those who falsely perpetrate violence in the name of religions, it occurred to me that what is happening in the Muslim world, in countries where Muslims are in the majority, is similar to what in the past happened in Germany as the National Socialist Party slowly rose to power.

The Nazis, from the first even when they were but a minor and almost insignificant party and they could have easily been snuffed out, they expertly and strategically employed harsh brutality to radiate an aura of irresistible power. With time they became increasingly audacious and dangerous; so that citizens quickly withdrew into silence, hoping that if they remained quiet and unnoticed they might escape becoming victims of that violence.

Well, they were wrong and no one escaped suffering the dire consequences of the Nazis rising to power. It seems to me that something similar is happening now, first in Muslim nations, but also on the world stage. The tactics of these new brutes employing terror to impose their agenda on others are much the same: pound to a pulp anyone who gets in the way, speaks up, or opposes, or simply kill them, and brutally, for maximum effect. Legitimate laws are abused and employed for such dishonest motives as to eliminate business competitors, or neighbors one doesn’t like, or people of another faith, or just on a whim… and those accused often don’t get a chance to get to court because the simple fact of the accusation stirs up the mob into fury and vigilante terrorist acts are perpetrated.

Lest we fall into a “holier than thou” attitude we need to remember that in our own European past, in the Middle Ages there was a practice known as the “hue and cry”. If someone raised the alarm and shouted out “thief” or “murder” or “fire” or some such trouble the people of the village or town would drop everything and come running to the sound. Once a few details were given about the alleged perpetrator, the newly excited mob would go on a rampage and seek out the party accused of the wrongdoing. It was known to happen that once the unfortunate accused was found, depending on how they appeared to the crowd, they were found to “look guilty” and beaten or even killed on the spot. It was too bad if later it was discovered that the truth was not quite as presented.

Such social mechanisms can be exploited as convenient ways to get rid of people you don’t like. In a society of law and order the truth can at some point be established and those guilty of making false accusations taken to justice. However, when a society is a theocracy – not unlike Middle Ages Europe – the power or order and justice can be wielded by those deemed to have religious authority.

In some places on Earth at this time it seems sufficient for a person to claim to speak for a god or his representative for them to enjoy the blind and total following of crowds or mobs of those well disposed to experience the “rush” of carrying out extreme actions for ideological reasons.

Even if this view of things is only partially true, don’t you think, dear reader, that our brothers and sisters, especially Muslims, living in theocratic nations, are in need of our prayerful support before God, that He may give them the light and grace they need to resist the terror tactics of this new breed of ideological power hungry fanatics?

“Father in Heaven, we pray for all those of our brothers and sisters living on Earth in our generations who are subject to fear at the sight of brutal acts carried out against neighbors or under the growing influence of individuals and groups using brutality in the name of religious ideology to eliminate those they want to get rid of, especially those of other faiths. You are the only true God, and all power is Yours, and You have given all power to your divine Son, incarnate in Jesus Christ, Risen from the dead and Judge of the nations. Have mercy, we pray on all those in fear of their lives in the face of brutality: fill them with your light and the strength of your Spirit to oppose the darkness and stand for goodness and truth. Pour out your Spirit once again upon all mankind for the humiliation of all doers of evil and for the raising up of your true children, in the holy Name of Jesus, your Son, our Lord. Amen!”

“O Mary, Our Lady of Good Counsel, Help of Christians, pray for us and for all mankind. Amen.”

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