I have noticed you have in the prayers of the faithful a prayer for the military. Isn’t it inappropriate to pray for wars?

Actually we do not pray for the military or war, per se, we pray for those serving in the military and their families.  In an ideal world there would never be a need for a military, but we do not live in such a world.  Some early members of the Church believed that even defending oneself was unjustified for a Christian, meaning complete pacifism was mandated, even if it meant allowing yourself to be attacked and killed by an unjust aggressor.  In this area, Mohandas Gandhi from India was an excellent example of such a Gospel message.  That complete commitment, while noble, was eventually abandoned, though still supported by many as the ideal.  Even Gandhi admitted once, he would not have been successful against any other government in his day.
We in this country possess great freedoms unparalleled in most parts of the world.  We enjoy those freedoms because of those who were, and are, willing to fight wars, and die for those freedoms.  We remember them on days like July 4, and Memorial Day, and are thankful.  Let us also remember those who died, doing as their government directed, as it takes great courage — on both sides — to be willing to die for our government.
According to Scriptures we are also called to pray for our enemies.  This means we should also be praying for those in the military the U.S. military is fighting.  There is never such a thing as a “good” war.  Most wars fueled by the desire for power or greed.  But there can be necessary wars — primarily those of defense.  Most of the time, those fighting in a war, are doing such because of their government’s decision.  They do not have a personal fight nor do they hate the people they are opposing.  In addition, many have no option as military service is mandatory.  By praying for those fighting on both sides of a conflict, means we pray that ALL God’s children will be safe and protected.  It is an issue of respect for all human beings.  As Christians we repeatedly pray for peace, though peace is more than the absence of war.  Just because there is no war does not mean there is peace, it could be there is simply oppression.  In the book “1984” the government kept a war going as a means of keeping the local population under control.
We need to keep in mind that soldiers on all sides of a conflict have families and loved ones.  They all want to live their lives, to love and be loved, to watch their children grow old. They usually want to live in peace, be employed, and provide for their families.  The key to ending wars lies not in military power, but in a transformation of our hearts.  We need to let go of a thirst for power, to let go of our greed and desire for possessions.  We need to see God’s reflection in all our brothers and sisters in the world.

Author: yuengerwv

Retired Catholic Priest

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: