Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

What Caused the Surprise in the Syrian Crisis? Prayer, Fasting and Papal Leadership

By Deacon Keith Fournier
September 15th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

An endless stream of talking heads filled the airwaves speculating as to who did what and why - to bring about the surprising situation no-one had predicted. They questioned the intentions of Russia in brokering a diplomatic solution. They offered unsubstantiated drivel as a substitute for insight. In effect, they fanned the flames of fear and furthered the corrosive cynicism of the age. Through it all, no-one on any media venue zeroed in on what is truly bringing about such a dramatic and surprising turn of events in the Syrian crisis. Here it is, plain and simple. Prayer and fasting is doing what political machinations are incapable of doing. Papal leadership accomplished what political leadership could not.

CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - As the fluid story line concerning the crisis in Syria unfolded on Tuesday, September 10, 2013, I heard, read, and watched  the bantering from the political right and left as it filled up the multi-media platforms.

It was vacuous, ill informed, speculative, self serving and filled with partisan bantering pretending to be news and commentary.

I openly opposed the proposed military incursion which has now been, at least temporarily, averted.  I follow the news coming out of this global trouble spot with dedication for many reasons. One of them is my concern for the Christians in Syria. I have written numerous articles on their plight. I rely on European sources in my work because coverage in the United States is often propaganda or political posturing pretending to be analysis.

I always caution our readers to be careful as they follow the news on this crisis and stay focused on the plight of the Christians in Syria. Both because of our special obligation in solidarity with them, but also because their plight is the key to understanding what is really happening in this growing conflict.

In one article I warned that "As Catholics, we need to be very careful as we watch the news reports concerning the situation in Syria. The Chaldean Bishop of Aleppo, Antoine Audo, S.J. told Vatican Radio that  "If there is an armed intervention, that would mean, I believe, a world war. That risk has returned."

"Metropolitan Hilarion, the head of the Department for External Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate offered sobering words concerning what appears to be the impending military action by the US in Syria stating "Once again, as was the case in Iraq, the United States is acting as an international executioner. Once again, thousands of lives will be sacrificed on the altar of an imaginary democracy."

He warned that among them will be "Christians, about whose fate no one cares." He said, "We must be numbered among the ones who do care about their fate. Pray for the Christians in Syria. Pray for peace in Syria."

I regularly remind our readers of the spiritual warfare involved in our call to be peacemakers. That is our call if we are to be the children of God.(Mt. 5:9) We need to remember the words written by the Apostle Paul to the Christians in Corinth: "For though we live in the world we are not carrying on a worldly war, for the weapons of our warfare are not worldly but have divine power to destroy strongholds." (2 Cor. 10:4,5)

When Pope Francis prophetically called for a day of prayer and fasting, I urged our readers around the globe to "stand in solidarity with Pope Francis, the Bishop of Rome, the servant of the servants of God - and all who stand with us - beginning right now in praying for the intervention of heaven. Let us heed the invitation coming from Rome and join in this historic event on Saturday, September 7, 2013."

I was deeply moved by his message and his manner. The one hundred thousand gathered in St Peters Square pleading for God's intervention opened my eyes to see what is really necessary in this time of global travail. I know The Lord not only heard that prayer but is responding to it even as I write. There is no more powerful force on earth than the prayer of the Church of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, Sept 11, 2013 is the twelfth anniversary of the horrific attack by militant Jihadists on the United States of America. The commemoration will bring millions to services and gatherings. It is prompting responses which hold promise. People are realizing that the Apostle Paul's admonition to the Christians in Rome is the only path forward, "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." (Romans 12:21)

Sept 11, 2013 is also the one year anniversary of the horrific attack on the US Embassy in Benghazi, Libya, a tragedy which has yet to be fully explained and exposed. Sadly, the lack of serious investigation has caused deepening doubt in the minds and hearts of millions as to the integrity of the current US Administration.

Tuesday evening President Obama addressed the Nation on the rapidly shifting situation in Syria. The good news is that the threatened military action has been put on hold. Sadly, much of the news on Tuesday was filled with partisan nonsense pretending to be insight. It simply dragged us further down into the spiral of decline.

Some on the political right sought to use the events to further diminish the President and his administration through mockery. Some on the political left sought to use the events to promote the growing new form of emperor worship President Obama has generated in their ranks.

An endless stream of talking heads filled the airwaves speculating as to who did what and why - to bring about the surprising situation no-one had predicted. They questioned the intentions of Russia in brokering a diplomatic solution. They offered unsubstantiated drivel as a substitute for insight. In effect, they fanned the flames of fear and furthered the corrosive cynicism of the age.

Through it all, no-one on any media venue zeroed in on what is truly bringing about such a dramatic and surprising turn of events in the Syrian crisis. Here it is, plain and simple. Prayer and fasting is doing what political machinations are incapable of doing. Papal leadership accomplished what political leadership could not.

I invite our readers to hear the invitation of that humble man named Francis and continue to pray and fast for a peaceful resolution. By so doing we are unleashing the most powerful weapon we have against the growing scourge of violence - the Love of God. This is the only source and means to authentic peace, as individuals, as a Church, as Nation-states and as a global community.  

Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)