It comes as little surprise that global mania over the soccer World Cup has obscured grimmer news about the struggles of Christians, many of whom are struggling in poverty in the World Cup host nation of Brazil and ever more of whom are in mortal peril in Middle East wars.
In twenty-first-century style, a Twitter hashtag has been created for the purpose of conveniently asserting solidarity with the cause of peace. During the World Cup final, users of the hashtag (one gathers) are supposed to make the V sign at an arranged time and then, presumably, to resume their viewing activities.
What would happen, one wonders, if some of us — however few or many — were to skip the World Cup final in part or entirely, and dedicate the time to prayers for peace before the Blessed Sacrament?
During a similarly perilous time for the civilized world in the year 1848, Pope Pius IX authorized an indulgence for the following prayer for peace. While the indulgence is no longer in effect, the prayer, we think, is still worth a pause:
Da pacem, Domine, in diebus nostris: quia non est alius qui pugnet pro nobis nisi tu, Deus noster.
℣ Fiat pax in virtute tua
℟ Et abundantia in turribus tuis.
Deus, a quo sancta desideria, recta consilia, et justa sunt opera: da servis tuis illam, quam mundus dare non potest, pacem: ut et corda nostra mandatis tuis dedita, et hostium sublata formidine, tempora sint tua protectione tranquilla. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Give peace, O Lord, in our days; for there is none other that fighteth for us, but only Thou, our God.
℣ Let there be peace in thy strength, O Lord.
℟ And plenty in thy strong places.
Let us pray.
O God, from whom proceed all holy desires, all right counsels and just works; grant unto us thy servants that peace which the world cannot give, that our hearts may be devoted to thy service, and that, being delivered from the fear of our enemies, we may pass our time in peace under thy protection. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.