Franciscan Sister Kathleen Murphy reflects on Pope Francis’ December Prayer Intention.
In this blessed month of December we adore the Holy Child of Bethlehem. The Holy Father calls us to remember other children as we pray that the scandal of child-soldiers may be eliminated the world over.
The very label “child soldier” is a contradiction of terms. No child should be subjected to the horror of war, much less be expected to be a perpetrator of these horrors. Internet searches will yield a plethora of stories of child soldiers, but perhaps you can search for Ishmael-beah-child-soldier. His story is sadly not a one-of-a-kind narrative. Far too many children own this same, or a similar story. There are an estimated 250,000 child soldiers in the world today. It is estimated that 40% of all child soldiers are girls.
St. Francis was certainly not a child when he went off to fight the glorious fight of the armored knight. Yet, his young life was forever marred by the terrors of his experiences. As we honor and adore the Newborn King, the Prince of Peace, let us ask Him to bless and protect the world’s child-soldiers. Let us ask St. Francis to intercede for peace that no child will be forced to undergo the dangers and horrors of war. In the words of Pope Francis, Looking at the child in the manger, the child of peace, our thoughts turn to those children who are the most vulnerable victims of wars. Wars shatter and hurt so many lives.