Last month, Pope Francis asked us to pray for persecuted Christians. In light of recent events in Egypt, it is appropriate to renew our prayers for the many Christians throughout the world who are suffering at the hands of those opposed to the Gospel.
Pope Francis explained the dire situation of Christians in a morning meditation on April 4, 2014.
“But ‘even today, Christians are persecuted’…And they are persecuted ‘because in this worldly society, this easy-going society that want no problems, they speak the truth and proclaim Jesus Christ.’…‘A Catholic from one of these Countries told me that they cannot pray together — it's forbidden! They can only pray alone and in hiding.’…This is also ‘the path of the Lord, the path of those who follow the Lord.’ It is a path that ‘always ends like the Lord's, with a resurrection, but passing by way of the cross.’…‘never be afraid of persecution, of misunderstandings’…when this happens, in our community…let us look to the Lord’…asking the Lord for ‘the grace to go forward on his path and, if it happens, with the cross of persecution as well.’
Pope Francis condemned the recent attacks and assured Egypt of his prayers.
“We pray for the victims claimed this morning...To my dear brother, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II to the Coptic Church and to all the dear Egyptian nation I express my deep condolences. I pray for the dead and the injured, and I am close in spirit to the family members [of the deceased and injured] and to the entire community.”
Pope Francis continued, “May the Lord convert the hearts of the people who are sowing terror, violence and death, and also the hearts of those who make and traffic weapons.”
Let us continue to pray for persecuted Christians and when we make our contribution on Good Friday (to the Holy Land fund), let us remember that we can help our brothers and sisters in the Middle East in many different ways. Whatever we can do, even if it is simply prayers, we should do it. They are experiencing the passion of Christ this week, let us join them in prayer and accompany them as we accompany Christ on Good Friday.