A Prayer to Mark World Aids Day

Lord, make me an instrument of peace:  

What concrete steps can we take to promote peace and reconciliation in situations of conflict, violence and sexual exploitation to help reduce the incidence of HIV/AIDS and promote a culture of peace and reconciliation?

Where there is hatred, let me sow love:  

How can we create welcoming communities of faith for persons living with HIV/AIDS and those affected by AIDS and eliminate all instances of discrimination and social stigma?

Where there is injury, pardon:  

Do we hold those who are living with HIV/AIDS as evil, immoral persons?   How can we set them free and allow them to discover the face of God in their current situations?

Where there is division, unity:  

Do our fears and prejudices lead us to commit acts of violence against our sisters and brothers living with HIV/AIDS?

Where there is darkness (untruth), light (truth):  

Can we preach and speak about HIV/AIDS openly, exploring its origins, its impact, and the fears we have about it?   Can we begin to speak the truth in the light, in our parish communities, our religious houses, and everywhere?

Where there is doubt, true faith:  

Can we reach out to one another, particularly our brothers and sisters living with HIV/AIDS, in a way that restores faith in God?   Can we draw upon the power of resurrection to remove all fears, fears of contagion that lead us to reject or withdraw our love and support from persons living with HIV/AIDS?

Where there is despair, hope:  

How are we fostering communities of hospitality, receptivity, and healing where our brothers and sisters can find ‘home’, a place of welcoming and love.

Where there is sadness, new joy:  

Do we recognize the power and grace in our brothers and sisters living with HIV/AIDS?   Do we allow ourselves to be ‘evangelized’ and transformed by the witness of our sisters and brothers living with HIV/AIDS?

 

 

Sweet Science Or Carnal Cruelty?

I have been a fan of boxing for as long as I can remember. I think there is nothing more basic in sport then the idea of two people, evenly matched, with nothing but their will and desire, going face to face to determine who is better. I also treasure the time my grandfather spent with me watching the best matches of the 60’s and 70’s.

That being said, I am finding it more and more difficult to watch professional boxing. It makes me a little queasy, giving me that “something’s not right” feeling.

Professional boxers pound each other resulting in bloody faces, bruised bodies, and damaged vital organs. The long-term ill effects on their central nervous systems has been medically documented and proven — post concussion syndrome is a common thing when the goal is to concuss the opponent into submission.

According to the Journal of Combative Sport, 1,465 boxers have died in the ring — including Duk Koo Kim, whom I watched receive a relentless beating at the hands of Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini in 1982.

As a follower of the Prince of Peace, should I be tolerating, let alone cheering on, this needless cruelty?

That feeling in my stomach is telling me NO. I am not alone in this feeling: a leading Roman Catholic magazine has denounced boxing, calling the sport merciless, inhuman and in violation of church teachings.

Heavenly Father, God of peace,
Look with kindness upon your servant.
Abolish from my heart and mind,
Acts of violence and cruelty.

Instruct my mind and teach my heart anew,
Make me an instrument of your purpose.
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light and
where there is sadness, joy.

I ask this through Christ our Lord.

Amen.