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Peace with respect for differences

· Benedict XVI's Appeal for the Middle East on the eve of his journey to Lebanon ·

At the General Audience the Pope recalls that in the face of evil no prayer is wasted

Two days before departing for Lebanon the Holy Father launched a new appeal for peace in the “land of the cedars” and throughout the Middle East. He did so at the General Audience on Wednesday, 12 September, in the Paul VI Hall recalling that the richness of the heterogeneous society of Lebanon will only be able to continue to exist “if it lives in peace and in enduring reconciliation”.

Speaking in French, the Pope addressed “all the Christians of the Middle East, whether they are old stock or have arrived recently”, asking them “to be builders of peace and architects of reconciliation”. The Pope offered gratitude and encouragement to the Church in the hope that she may “continue to witness to Christ in these blessed lands, seeking communion in unity”. The history of the Middle East, he recalled in particular,“shows us the important and often primordial role that is played by the different Christian communities in interreligious and intercultural dialogue. Let us ask God to give this region of the world the peace it so longs for, with respect for the legitimate differences”.

Benedict XVI straight away repeated this invitation to the Italian faithful, whom he asked “to accompany with prayer” his imminent journey. “May this visit” encourage Christians and promote peace and brotherhood throughout the Region”. This was the wish the Pope expressed.

The Pope had just spoken about the second part of the Book of Revelation, rereading the symbology of the light of the Christian vision of history and of the world. A vision that for the Pope is constantly nourished by personal and community prayer, thanks to which believers are able to see things in “a new way” and to “grasp the truest meaning”. In this way Christians cannot be pessimists because “prayers are not superfluous or wasted, no prayer is lost”. Even when one has the feeling that they cannot do anything in the face of evil, prayer is “the first and most effective response that we can give and that makes our daily commitment to spreading the good even stronger”.

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