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On this “World Day of Prayer,” let us unite together spiritually and pray in a special way for the Pope’s monthly intentions.
During December we pray, “that the scandal of child-soldiers may be eliminated the world over.”
This prayer intention has particular relevance during a time of year when we focus on the coming of the Christ Child at Christmas and are actively preparing our hearts to receive him. We are reminded during this season that Christ was born during a time of violence and the Holy Innocents are a sign to us today of the tragedy of prideful ambitions that view children as objects to be used for personal gain or protection instead of human persons worthy of respect.
Pope Francis explained this tragedy when visiting the Holy Land a few years ago:
“And we have to ask ourselves: Who are we, as we stand before the Child Jesus? Who are we, standing as we stand before today’s children? Are we like Mary and Joseph, who welcomed Jesus and cared for him with the love of a father and a mother? Or are we like Herod, who wanted to eliminate him? Are we like the shepherds, who went in haste to kneel before him in worship and offer him their humble gifts? Or are we indifferent? Are we perhaps people who use fine and pious words, yet exploit pictures of poor children in order to make money? Are we ready to be there for children, to ‘waste time’ with them? Are we ready to listen to them, to care for them, to pray for them and with them? Or do we ignore them because we are too caught up in our own affairs? ”
Pope Francis challenges us all not to turn a blind eye to the injustices of the world, especially when it comes to children who are mistreated and used as child-soldiers. At a time of the year when most children in the world eagerly await presents on Christmas day, so many are caught fighting for a war they don’t understand and treated as human shields to protect the interests of prideful men.
Let us pray this month for an end to child-soldiers and do our part to give children a Christmas of peace, not war.
- Philip Kosloski
Writer and Content Manager
The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (USA)