Friday, August 15, 2014

on this day in history

Today, August 15, is the feast of the Assumption of Mary into heaven, as well as my Cuban grandfather Alipio’s birthday!

On this date in 1945, church bells rang throughout the world as the Second World War finally came to an end. For Koreans, today is also Independence Day—commemorating the end in 1945 of what was a bitter and cruel Japanese rule over the Korean people.

It seems like no coincidence, therefore, that Pope Francis chose this date for his first visit to AsiaHe wasted no time calling all of us to pray -- and work -- for peace!

 “[Korea’s] national legacy has been tested through the years by violence, persecution and war. But despite these trials, the heat of the day and the dark of the night have always given way to the morning calm, that is, to an undiminished hope for justice, peace and unity. What a gift hope is! We cannot become discouraged in our pursuit of these goals which are for the good not only of the Korean people, but of the entire region and the whole world…

Peace is not simply the absence of war, but “the work of justice” (cf. Is 32:17). And justice, as a virtue, calls for the discipline of forbearance; it demands that we not forget past injustices but overcome them through forgiveness, tolerance and cooperation. It demands the willingness to discern and attain mutually beneficial goals, building foundations of mutual respect, understanding and reconciliation. May all of us dedicate these days to peace, to praying for it and deepening our resolve to achieve it.”

¡Asi sea! (may it be so).

[Click here for the full text of Pope Francis’ August 14 speech to South Korean leaders on his first day of a 5-day visit.]

During his visit this week, Pope Francis will beatify Korea's first martyr,
Paul Yun Ji-chung, and his 123 companions