The human person’s yearning for truth, peace, for life for himself and for others, stems from the deepest meanders of his heart. None of us can truthfully feel fulfilled in our aspirations until men and women’s fundamental human rights continue being denied: notably, the right to life and to peace. But for everyone, the act of soul-searching means the recovery of self-reflection, activating an internal dialogue with ourselves, with the truth, with others, up to the point of drawing from resources that are greater than any human person, forces with the power of shattering the hardness of every heart, of transforming our gaze on reality and enable it to discern otherwise unimaginable paths of peace and life. Each one of us is called to renew every day – especially in the darkest hours – wholehearted soul-searching, pleading forgiveness to our brothers and sisters in humanity for all the times that indifference prevailed over solidarity, slander over truth, hatred over love, war over peace.
For the faithful, inner dialogue with truth and with the powers that transcend individuals, is embodied in prayer: there can be no peace without prayer, which leads to the acknowledgement that peace extends beyond human efforts, whose fountainhead and fulfilment is found in a Reality that becomes us.
There ensues that all those who proclaim themselves “religious” should seriously ask themselves in the present moment to what extent they turned to Something or Someone beyond their ego in the sanctuary of their conscience, and to what extent they have worshipped all the idols that the human minds relentlessly fabricate and venerate.
As for us Christians, Saint Paul says: “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Eph. 2:13); for this reason Christian faithful have always firmly believed with the Apostle that “He himself is our peace” (Eph. 2:14). But while it’s true that peace bears the name of Jesus Christ, it’s equally true that in the course of history those who have adorned themselves with His name not always succeeded in bearing witness to the ultimate destiny of humanity in the communion around the throne of the Lamb.
The continued divisions among the disciples of Christ constitute a scandal and a veritable counter-witness.
Thus Christians’ soul-searching, in addition to encompassing self-critical reflection and the struggle against idolatry, will need to be, in virtue of the same faith and in the true name of peace, ever more radical and authentic.
For the above set of reason, Pope Francis announced a Day of Fasting and Prayer for Peace, with a special focus on the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan – two countries afflicted by the “tragic continuation of conflict” – inviting “both non-Catholics and non-Christian brothers and sisters to join in the ways they deem most appropriate.” It will be a day of fasting to fervently pray to God to bestow long-lasting peace upon the world, based on justice; that it may inspire all those with responsibilities for the common good to identify appropriate solutions to the conflicts afflicting world countries. For the faithful of many religions prayer, fasting and almsgiving are inherently linked to their profession of faith; for all Christians these are requests made by Jesus before the struggle against evil and in continuity with the Lord, while being a sign of fraternal communion.