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Leah Fogelberg

A Privileged Moment

The World Day of Peace is an annual celebration by the Catholic Church dedicated to universal peace, held on January 1. Established by Pope Paul VI in 1967, this special day is an occasion on which Popes share timely declarations, shining light on important facets of our collective lives.

Pope Francis continues this tradition by offering his message for the 56th World Day of Peace: No One Can be Saved Alone: Combatting Covid-19 together, embarking together on paths of peace.

In this short yet provocative message, Pope Francis cuts to the heart of the underlying realities of our day. He states: “Covid-19 plunged us into a dark night.” He articulates the challenges faced at every level including healthcare and political systems, economic and social order, individuals and families, as we maneuver through Covid, social unrest, and escalating global war. 

True to a life grounded in the steadfast love of God and committed to remaining alert and connected to the suffering of the world, Pope Francis startles us by calling today “a privileged moment.”  He states, “we never emerge the same from times of crisis: we emerge either better or worse.” He encourages us: Today is the right time “to question, learn, grown and allow ourselves to be transformed as individuals and as communities.”

Pope Francis suggests “the greatest lesson we learned from Covid-19 was the realization that we all need one another. That our greatest and yet most fragile treasure is our shared humanity as brothers and sisters, children of God. And that none of us can be saved alone.”

Given this, he asks, “What then is being asked of us?” Faced with continual and evolving disaster, pain, injustice, what are we called to do?

Embrace reality and be changed by it: Pope Francis suggests we must be vulnerable and allow “our hearts be changed by our experience of the crisis, to let God, at this time in history, transform our customary criteria for viewing the world around us.” 

Embrace the common good: He states, “we must think in terms of the common good, recognizing that we belong to a greater community... We cannot continue to focus simply on preserving ourselves; rather the time has come for all of us to endeavor to heal our society and our planet, to lay the foundations for a more just and peaceful world, and to commit ourselves seriously to pursuing a good that is truly common.”

Embrace the interconnectedness of all: “We cannot ignore one fundamental fact, namely that the many moral, social, political and economic crisis we are experiencing are all interconnected, and what we see as isolated problems are actually causes and effects of one another. Consequently, we are called to confront the challenges of our world in a spirit of responsibility and compassion.” Health care, poverty, climate change, immigration: “Only by responding generously to these situations, with an altruism inspired by God’s infinite and merciful love, will we be able to build a new world and contribute to the extension of his kingdom, which is the kingdom of love, justice and peace.”

Together, let us commit our lives to act in this privileged moment for peace. 

 

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