War, peace and the prayer of intercession

Milano 31 agosto 2013
Pope Francis has called for a day “of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, in the Middle East, and in the entire world”, to be held on Saturday 7th September.

To aid reflection for this day, we suggest one reconsiders the text of a homily that Cardinal Martini had delivered in Milan Cathedral on 29th January 1991 in the course of a vigil for peace. That vigil had been organized by the young members of Catholic Action, in the hope of averting the American attack on Iraq.

Martini had said at the time: “To intercede does not simply mean to ‘pray for someone’, as we often think. Etymologically ‘to intercede’ means ‘to take a step in between’, to take a step in such a way that you place yourself right at the heart of a situation. So intercession means to place oneself where conflict is happening, to take up a position between the two sides in a conflict. Interceding cannot therefore be reduced to simply expressing a need before God (‘Lord, grant us peace!’), while safely taking refuge. Interceding involves putting oneself in between”.

Download the homily