[dropcap]C[/dropcap]atholic-link.com – “Save the Children” is an international organization that promotes the well-being of vulnerable children, amongst which are those children caught in the middle of conflicts and wars. Today’s video aims to raise awareness of the reality of violence and fear that many suffer, albeit far away from our daily conscience.

The video follows a young girl, accompanying her varying expressions that pass from joy, to a subtle anxiety, to outright fear, to pain, and finally to sadness.

These expressions manifest the hopes and dreams of every child and how these hopes and these dreams may one day be torn down and extinguished by the flood of violence and destruction that so often arises quicker and with greater ferocity than one might believe possible.

Apostolic Elements

1. Indifference, the sickness of our time:

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]hanks to our means of communication, we have an almost infinite access to world events (although finding the truth is sometimes like looking for a needle in a haystack). Yet informing ourselves out of curiosity or habit can become an excellent mask for a deeper attitude of indifference. What’s a basic criteria to measure indifference? Try examining one’s willingness to change, to make sacrifices. Change here doesn’t necessarily imply something radical –although it should at times; it can simply mean a slight change in our routine. For example, you can take an extra moment to pray for someone or to offer something (Funds for Iraq) up for a certain situation (#20DaysforPeace). Or perhaps the Lord might be calling you to do something more significant, perhaps leave or change your job so as to attend to your sick parents, your needy child, or to dedicate more efforts to doing apostolate, etc..

The basic principle here is that we must ask ourselves: Do I allow God to speak to me through reality? Do I allow myself to be touched, to be changed, and even to suffer when I contemplate the world around me? Or, have I built myself a bunker of comfort, of routine, of habitual indifference that allows me to live as I like?

Pope Francis, in his Apostolic Exhortation, Gaudii Evangelium, says something similar:

The excluded are still waiting. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed. Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own. The culture of prosperity deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase. In the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us.

2. Faith and Courage in times of persecution

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hen we think of martyrs and the persecution of Christians, what comes to mind? Living in Rome, images of the Circo Massimo or the Colosseum come to my mind. Yet, as Pope Francis has recently said, “It is true that during the times of Nero many Christians were persectued, and today there are just as many.” The question we must ask then is evident: “What would we be willing to die for?” “How would we react if we were living in Iraq today?” Or, bringing things a bit closer to home: What are we willing to give up? Our job, our reputation, the acceptance of our peers. How about our time or our money? Are we willing to make sacrifices for our faith? Or are we too one of those who looks upon the Lord Jesus Crucified just like it was another bad piece of news, perhaps even worth ‘sharing’; yet nevertheless it is followed by the ‘click’ of the mouse, as we move on to another page. 

As means of an anecdote: Just the other day I was very impatient in Mass.  It was daily Mass,  and the priest was giving a rather long homily which I didn’t find to be very interesting. A few inner murmurings escaped I must admit. Still, after a moment of reflection I realized: how many of my brothers in the faith would and are literally dying to be able to participate in the gift of the Mass? How would they respond if they heard of my infantile complaints in this moment? I humbly asked the Lord for forgiveness for my lack of gratitude and lifted up a small prayer of thanks for a moment to grow in my own path of conversion as well as for the courage and faith of my brothers and sisters.