Sunday, November 05, 2017

The Grace to Cry

At American WWII cemetery, Pope begs: ‘Please, Lord, no more war!’
Pope Francis in American Military Cemetery Nov 2 2017

Even though I drive past the Bridge St. UC building regularly I keep my distance from the congregation, as the denomination expects and my conscience instructs me. It does occur to me though that this morning's worship service may include a recognition of the "saints and souls" who left this life for their eternal promise during the previous twelve months. The All Saints and All Souls Days of November one and two are an ancient tradition which can still have profound meaning.

On All Souls Day Pope Francis visited a cemetery, as is his practice, and this year is was an American military cemetery in Italy where nearly 8,000 war dead are buried. In a five-minute extemporaneous sermon France said “We pray for all the dead, and especially these young people, in a moment in which so many young people die in battles every day because of this world war ‘in pieces’,” , using his familiar expression to describe a world in which there isn’t a single massive global conflict, but dozens of smaller-scale wars being fought in various parts of the world.
“Even children are dying. Death is the fruit of war, and may the Lord give us the grace to cry.”

When we have recognized our saints in worship through the years the great majority have been elderly, sometimes living into their nineties or beyond. The tragic deaths have been few and far between, thank God. Those Pope Francis acknowledged would have been in the flower of their youth, which is one of the many grim realities of war.

It's important not to forget the  historical cost of war, nor to become numbed to the tragic loss of life and havoc of displacement that current wars produce.


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