Prayer, not violence, can counteract persecution

Re: “Study explores Christian response to persecution” (News Analysis, Dec. 6).

Why are our churches not packed with people praying for the end of religious persecution of Christians and other minority religions, an evil that is occurring with increasing frequency in the Middle East and Africa? We must call upon a power higher than mortal man to stop this unnecessary mindless bloodshed, murder and mayhem. Because these persecuted victims are our brothers and sisters in Christ, we can’t just ignore the deteriorating situation.

Recall the Battle of Lepanto, in the Gulf of Corinth off western Greece in October 1571, when Our Blessed Mother interceded for the Holy League to defend Christian Europe from annihilation by the Ottoman Empire. Today, innocent adults and children are being persecuted, kidnapped and tortured for their religious beliefs by ISIS, an organization of violent extremists, antagonistic to any religion but their own. Now, ISIS is spreading its violence beyond the Middle East and Africa.

However, a violent response from us only begets more extremist violence. Instead, we must fill our churches and join with people from other churches to ask the Lord God to turn the hearts of extremists away from violence and persecution.

“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. ... If possible, on your part, live at peace with all. Beloved, do not look for revenge but leave room for the wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ ... Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good” (Rom 12:17-19, 21).

Margaret Welter, Carol Stream, Illinois

What are your Year of Mercy New Year’s resolutions?

OSV Newsweekly asked its readers, “How do you plan on living out the Year of Mercy in the new year?” The following are a selection of responses from social media. Share your own via the hash tag #mercyresolution. Responses are via Facebook and Twitter.

To have good communication with my daughters. — Barbara Barbie

To steadfastly endeavor to increase my acts of mercy both corporal and spiritual. Please looks them up as a beginning step into this Year of Mercy! — Rebecca Harvey

To come closer to the mercy of God and eternal blessings. Amen. — Nancy Bendico

I plan on taking full advantage of everything the Year of Mercy gives me. — Mike Murphy

To continue to humble myself in God’s merciful hands every day I am in his absolutely amazing garden. Amen and amen. God is good! — Keith Smith

To give mercy and compassion to all those that I meet and come upon, and that they see Christ in me. — Rosie Thomas

To spend time in meditation and prayer with my Heavenly Father and to give mercy toward others as he always gives me. — Lupe Villegas

Spend more time in prayer and conversation with God, and to follow his light by being merciful, serving him and loving him. — Olivia Nola Lourenco

To go to confession more.— Ma Susan O Jesena

To be closer to the merciful God. — Shine Dzifa Dzogbeti

To give more to the homeless and poor in spirit. — A.J. Gonzales

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