Universal – Workers in War Zones
For doctors and their humanitarian collaborators in war zones, who risk their lives to save the lives of others.
Each year, the Holy Father asks for our prayers for a specific intention each month. We are invited to answer the Holy Father’s request and to join with many people worldwide in praying for this intention each month.
Among the many intentions and desires we will bring to our prayer and liturgies in April, the Holy Father invites us to consider also what is in his heart, and in his prayers, this month. This year it’s the month that brings us Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Good Friday, then the bright triumph of absolute good over evil’s darkness on Easter Day. In this month, Pope Francis invites us to pray for a particularly heroic and brave group, Doctors and their humanitarian collaborators in war Zones, who risk their lives to save the lives of others. They labour in so many situations of darkness. He shares this, his universal Intention for this month, so that we might hold these courageous and generous professionals in our prayer too, thanking God for them and for the selfless good that they do; a powerful story that is, perhaps, not always told as it might be.
Most of us would recognise the temptation to “walk by on the other side” when faced with suffering in another person, or on the larger scale the suffering of brothers and sisters in the Majority World. The people for whom the Holy Father invites us to pray this month do not yield to that temptation although, being human, they will experience it too. These medical professionals and humanitarian workers do, every day, in the words of this month’s Intention, “risk their lives to save the lives of others”; if they don’t, who will? What, therefore, does it mean to pray for them? First, this might be to pray in thanks for them. And since our prayer must not be mere empty words, we might realise also that it should move us to action, should mobilise us: what can we actually do about this challenge to humanity? Why do doctors and humanitarian collaborators have to risk their lives in war-zones? We don’t want to hide behind prayers and piety but we do want to discern what needs to be done. Pope Francis so often calls for us to be a discerning church. A precondition of good discernment is to become as fully informed as we can. In praying this intention this month, with Pope Francis, we commit our hearts to that discernment, that informed listening, that breaks open for us the mission to which the Spirit of God calls each of us, no matter where we find ourselves in this hurting and unstable world.