Dear friends, every one of us is a pilgrim. We are all drawn forward, with purpose, along God’s path. Naturally, then, we tend to look back on life – sometimes with regrets or hurts, often with thanksgiving and appreciation – and we also look ahead – sometimes with trepidation or anxiety, but always with expectation and hope, knowing too that there are others who encourage us along the way. I know that the journeys that have led many of you to the “Regina Pacis” Centre have been marked by suffering or trial. Some of you struggle courageously with disabilities, others of you have endured rejection, and some of you are drawn to this place of peace simply for encouragement and support. Of particular importance, I know, is the Centre’s great success in promoting the rightful place of the disabled in society and in ensuring that suitable training and opportunities are provided to facilitate such integration. For this foresight and determination you all deserve great praise and encouragement!Excerpt - Visit to the Regina Pacis Center of Amman May 8, 2009.
Parishioners pay their respect to Pope Benedict XVI as he leaves after leading a prayer service at he end of his visit to the Lady of Peace Church. Source: Associated Press
At times it is difficult to find a reason for what appears only as an obstacle to be overcome or even as pain – physical or emotional – to be endured. Yet faith and understanding help us to see a horizon beyond our own selves in order to imagine life as God does. God’s unconditional love, which gives life to every human individual, points to a meaning and purpose for all human life. His is a saving love (cf. Jn 12:32). As Christians profess, it is through the Cross that Jesus in fact draws us into eternal life, and in so doing indicates to us the way ahead – the way of hope which guides every step we take along the way, so that we too become bearers of that hope and charity for others.
Friends, unlike the pilgrims of old, I do not come bearing gifts or offerings. I come simply with one intention, a hope: to pray for the precious gift of unity and peace, most specifically for the Middle East. Peace for individuals, for parents and children, for communities, peace for Jerusalem, for the Holy Land, for the region, peace for the entire human family; the lasting peace born of justice, integrity and compassion, the peace that arises from humility, forgiveness and the profound desire to live in harmony as one.
Prayer is hope in action. And in fact true reason is contained in prayer: we come into loving contact with the one God, the universal Creator, and in so doing we come to realize the futility of human divisions and prejudices and we sense the wondrous possibilities that open up before us when our hearts are converted to God’s truth, to his design for each of us and our world.