I have just returned from a wonderful mission trip to our missions in East Africa, India and Bangladesh. It was beautiful to see how our Family Rosary work is growing, touching the lives of so many families and reaching out to the margins.
During my visit in Bangladesh, I made it to Chittagong Hills, almost to the border with Burma, where there are many tribal groups who are becoming Christians.
A village in the Chittagong Hills
They are peoples who have been really poor and taken advantage of, who are now learning their dignity as Children of God and precious in His eyes. Mother Mary is leading them to Her Son Jesus and so they are discovering the beauty of living in Christian families and heading toward heaven. Being part of the Christian Community is helping them get educated so they can develop and live with human dignity.
I was on the road more than two months and it was all such a rich experience. I ask myself, "What have I seen, what have I learned?"
Again I praise God for this big and beautiful world He has given us, with all its diversity!
Yet all this diversity can be very complex. People in different places can think and act very differently. And, through misunderstandings, situations easily escalate and get confrontational. While this has always been the case, I got to see the tensions and violence of the world we live in for myself. I saw for myself what we see in the news every day. I also got a sense of the increasingly negative effects of materialism and greed that are prevalent everywhere. Today's hyper-velocity communications make our world very volatile and unstable.
I don't pretend to be a pundit. I am just a priest with a mission. I know that the words of the Letter of St. James we recently heard at Mass are as true as ever:
"Where do the wars and where do the conflicts among you come from? Is it not from your passions that make war within your members? You covet but do not possess. You kill and envy but you cannot obtain; you fight and wage war." James 4:1-2 .
I am not a pundit. I am just a Christian with eyes open to see that the world is so complex and difficult now that the solutions aren't going to come from a few Governments and intellectuals imposing their views on the rest of the world.
The words of St. James direct us to the real solution:
"So submit yourselves to God … Draw near to God ... purify your hearts." James 4:7-8.
The Lord calls us to Himself, to His Cross and to becoming like children who are humble and dependent on our Father. What we need is conversion. We need prayer that changes our hearts.
Our family prayer ministry is urgent today. A world at prayer is a world at peace. I am starting with myself. I am praying even more than ever before.
Crowning Our Lady, Bolipara, Bangladesh