“I invite everyone to join a universal day of prayer and fasting for Lebanon.“
– Pope Francis
Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has invited us to join him today in a day of prayer and fasting for the intentions of the people of Lebanon, who have suffered so grieviously over a long period and in a particular way since the explosion in the port of Beirut one month ago.
To ask the Church to pray in unison is a very powerful thing – it draws down enormous grace from Heaven, where the Lord always hears and responds to that prayerful appeal. The Catechism reminds us of this power –
“When Jesus openly entrusts to His disciples the mystery of prayer to the Father, He reveals to them what their prayer and ours must be, once He has returned to the Father in His glorified humanity. What is new is to ‘ask in His name’. Faith in the Son introduces the disciples into the knowledge of the Father, because Jesus is ‘the way, and the truth, and the life’.. In this new covenant the certitude that our petitions will be heard is founded on the prayer of Jesus.” (para.2614)
The great Saint Augustine says it a little more simply –
“He prays for us as our priest, prays in us as our Head, and is prayed to by us as our God. Therefore let us acknowledge our voice in Him and His in us.”
When the Church prays, the Lord prays with her, for she is His Mystical Body upon the earth. The Lord Himself reminds us in the Gospels that where two or three gather in prayer, He is there in the midst of them. How much more so, then, when the entire Church is united in prayer. The Church prays with the voice of Christ.
The Holy Father concluded his address with an invocation to the Blessed Virgin –
“I ask you to entrust to Mary, Our Lady of Harissa, our hopes and our fears. May She sustain all who grieve for their loved ones and instil courage in those who have lost their homes and, with them, a part of their lives. May She intercede with the Lord Jesus so that the land of cedars may flourish once again and spread the fragrance of fraternal coexistence throughout the entire Middle East.”
May this Divine Lord, Who is always attentive to the prayers that arise to His throne, hear and answer our pleas for the people and nation of Lebanon.