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Prayer of a weary people

One of the petitions in the prayers of the people this morning was "that the people of the world grow weary of war." Naturally I was busy rewriting it even as the Lord was invoked.

Really! the Syrians must be more than weary. Also the Afghanis and Iraqis. The American people are weary of starting and conducting wars. The U.S. military is really tired of war. And the President, who looked exhausted at Friday's press conference, is certainly more than weary of war.

So I rewrote the petition: "that the U.S. Congress grow weary of war." Let us pray.

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Lord hear our prayer!

Or, "that the world's politicians grow weary of killing".  "People" don't start wars; politicians do.

Praying for weariness seems like kind of a strange thing to pray for.  Margaret, I suppose the habits of being an editor, once acquired, are difficult to set aside; I suggest that whoever composes your petitions runs them by you early in the week for a little wordsmithing.

I wish it was as easy as identifying a few culprits, but singling out other people as troublemakers is usually not a remedy for war but more often a cause of it. We should understand by now that there is something deep, deep in our murderous hearts that loves war and will not be rooted out or talked away. Look at the old newsreels of soldiers from all over Europe marching off to glory in 1914, bands playing and crowds cheering. It's the same at the start of every war. We had a big dose of it here a decade ago. It's only after Shiloh and the Somme and Stalingrad and Fallujah that people begin to have doubts.

Of course, better leaders can make a difference. We recalled that very recently, when Nelson Mandela died.

It is a pernicious, persistent evil that we have to be constantly vigilant about. Just a few months ago there were loud voices encouraging war on Iran. One can not rest with such warmongers poised for battle. 

While being wary of war we might also be wary of such as the Legionnaires of Christ who up until BEnedict censured them were becoming quite powerful in the church and buying property all over the place to foster their empire. We have to constantly be wary of a hierarchy who puts children second. We have to be wary of church officials who continue the mortar build up yet do zero about building up the people. We have to continually be aware of those who want to build an empire rather than the gospel of Christ.

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About the Author

Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages and blogs at dotCommonweal.