Lord Jesus Christ,
you came among us through Mary’s ‘yes’ to God.
Help me this day to say ‘yes’ to the Father’s call to me,
so that in my words and actions,
in times of work and leisure,
you can be present in me through the power of the Eucharist
to heal, to comfort and to sustain.
With Mary, the mother of our Lord and of the Church, I pray for this month’s intentions as proposed by the Holy Father:
That the scandal of child-soldiers may be eliminated the world over.
That the peoples of Europe may rediscover the beauty, goodness, and truth of the Gospel, which gives joy and hope to life.
Every child has the right to feel safe; to be loved and valued. The child is born in innocence in the sight of God, of creation and of humanity. This is the dream of each child and of God, but unfortunately society draws some children to a different place.
In 1989, the UN convention states, ‘Every child has the right of protection from armed conflicts’. (Art. 38) Isn’t it a sad reflection on society that such a statement needs to be made. The reality is, that still today 26 years later there are more than 300,000 boys and girls under 18 involved in conflicts in many parts of Africa and Asia as child soldiers. The girls are used as sex slaves, cooks, spies. Guns are being placed in the hands of these young people who are trained to kill even members of their own families and neighbourhoods. This constitutes one of the most horrendous breaches of the child’s rights and is unequivocally wrong.
Pope Francis in his first Christmas address to the world pleaded for divine aid to rescue child soldiers ‘robbed of their childhood’. In this month when we celebrate the birth of the infant Jesus we are reminded how soon afterwards Mary and Joseph had to flee into Egypt because innocent children were being slaughtered. Today let’s pray earnestly for the innocence of these children.
Sr Lil Meagher, extracted from Living Prayer