Tuesday, September 05, 2006
The Peace of Jerusalem Let me provide you with one more excerpt from the Community of Sant'Egidio's meeting, "For A World of Peace: Religions and Cultures in Dialogue." This particular meditation was delivered by Cardinal Walter Kasper, the President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity. Cardinal Kasper speaks on Psalm 122, verses six through nine: For the peace of Jerusalem pray: "May those who love you prosper! May peace be within your ramparts, prosperity within your towers." For family and friends I say, "May peace be yours." For the house of the Lord, our God, I pray, "May blessings be yours." Here is the Cardinal: When I was young, during the terrible years of the World War II, a poem circulated in the anti-aircraft shelters and in the trenches. That poem began with the following words: “Only prayer can free us from the sword looming on our head”. The words of this poem recall an ancient belief of religious humanity, that we also found in the Psalm we read. Decisions about war and peace are taken not predominantly, or not only, by governments, military people or diplomats. War and peace have a deeper origin; they spring from the hearts and minds of men and women. Evil or good intentions of individuals and peoples stem from the heart. And it is in the hearts and minds that conversion and renewal must begin. The heart is the breeding place of the will of reconciliation and peace, which is possible only if justice will include all. Only God and his Holy Spirit can reach the heart of man. Only God can grant us a new heart, not a heart of stone but a heart of flesh and blood, a compassionate heart. No one but God can inspire us feelings of peace. For this reason, the prayer for peace is a weapon which is definitely more powerful than missiles, bombs or grenades; prayer is the real superpower of this world. Jesus teaches us that faith can move mountains. Why should God, while listening to our common prayer, not unlock the complications, and solve the unsolvable - from a human point of view – quandary of the Middle East? The Psalm contains a promise for Jerusalem. It is the promise of God that wants peace. He promised the establishment of peace for Jerusalem. We are before the starting point of Peace: Jerusalem will engender a universal peace for humankind, for the entire world. We build on this promise, we rely on this promise. For this reason we will pray – tirelessly - for the peace of Jerusalem, for the peace of the land that is holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims; the land of promise and peace. For this reason, pray assiduously for reconciliation and peace.