A Papal Prayer for Peace and Protection from Violence and from Terrorism

Vatican news published a prayer of Pope Francis “for peace and protection from violence and from terrorism” that the Pope prayed yesterday upon visiting the Church of St. Francis in Krakow, which houses the relics two Polish Franciscans killed by the Maoist guerilla organization Sendero Luminoso in Peru in 1991.  I think the prayer is quite beautiful (see
http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-francis-venerates-relics-of-martyrs-in-franci).  Here is the text in English translation (which clearly leaves something to be desired but can easily be amended):

O almighty and merciful God, Lord of the universe and of history. All that You have created is good and your compassion for the mistakes of mankind knows no limits.
We come to You today to ask You to keep in peace the world and its people, to keep far away from it the devastating wave of terrorism, to restore friendship and instill in the hearts of your creatures the gift of trust and of readiness to forgive.
O Giver of life, we pray to You also for all those who have died as victims of brutal terrorist attacks. Grant them their eternal reward. May they intercede for the world that is torn apart by conflicts and disagreements.
O Jesus, Prince of Peace, we pray to You for the ones who have been wounded in these acts of inhuman violence: children and young people, old people and innocent people accidentally involved in evil. Heal their bodies and hearts; console them with Your strength and, at the same time, take away any hatred and a desire for revenge.
Holy Spirit Consoler, visit the families of the victims of terrorism, families that suffer through no fault of their own. Wrap them in the mantle of Your divine mercy. Make them find again in You and in themselves the strength and courage to continue to be brothers and sisters for others, above all for immigrants, giving witness to Your love by their lives.
Touch the hearts of terrorists so that they may recognize the evil of their actions and may turn to the way of peace and goodness, of respect for the life and for the dignity of every human being, regardless of religion, origin, wealth or poverty.
O God, Eternal Father, in Your mercy hear our prayer which we raise up to You amidst the deafening noise and desperation of the world. We turn to You with great hope, full of trust in Your infinite Mercy. Made strong by the examples of the blessed martyrs of Perú, Zbigniew and Michael, who have rendered courageous testimony to the Gospel, to the point of offering their blood, we entrust ourselves to the intercession of Your Most Holy Mother. We ask for the gift of peace and of the elimination from our midst of the sore of terrorism.

Through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

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3 comments

  1. Thanks, Teresa, for reporting the prayer. As you say, it can be easily amended. My full translation is too long to fit into the space available here, so I offer just the following amendments.
    Paragraph beginning “O Jesus, Prince of Peace”: the words “women and men” are missing: “…children and young people, women and men, old people …”
    Paragraph beginning “O God, Eternal Father”: “who have rendered courageous testimony…” in Italian is rather: ” Zbigniew and Michele whom you have made courageous witnesses to the Gospel.”
    Same paragraph: It is addressed to the Eternal Father, so the words “the intercession of Your Most Holy Mother” are not appropriate. Better to say: “we entrust ourselves to the intercession of the Most Holy Mother of your Son.” (The Italian text would also need correcting. I have not found audio or video of the occasion to check the words Francis spoke.)
    Same paragraph: “the sore of terrorism”: perhaps “the wound of terrorism” sounds better in English.
    You may like to do some cutting and pasting for a revised version.
    One thing I feel is missing from the prayer: a reference to terrorist acts carried out by governments. The world is not lacking in such acts; they can provide the motivation for terrorism by other groups or individuals, or they can be the government response to those acts.

  2. Popes try their hand at this, as we all have done, and they occasionally succeed. I remember the prayer that John XXIII published for the success of the ecumenical council, that was used in the early 1960s during Benedictions. But I think that this prayer would be more effective and proper if:
    * It required something of all those who pray it, such as a growth in love for neighbor or the pursuit of peace.
    * It avoided specific words such as “terrorism” that are defined by the media as political priorities. There are far greater threats to humanity than these isolated acts. Galatians has a comprehensive list of them.
    * It were short enough for the average person to remember. Many including myself learned the “instrument of peace” and “serenity” prayers because they are short and mnemonically arranged.
    Thinking out loud, I could add one parallel phrase to the Lord’s Prayer that is relevant to this theme:
    *”Lead us not into temptation” as we keep our neighbor from temptation.

    1. @Paul Schlachter:
      “Short enough to remember” is probably too short, But short enough to fit on small card strikes me as fully practicable; I carry around several of those.
      Francis has previously addressed, first, God and then each Person individually before coming to his final petition. See also his Christian prayer for the environment in Laudato Si. And if one sends three individual requests, it necessarily makes for a longer-than-wallet-sized prayer.

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