By Devin Watkins

Sep 23 2023

Pope Francis sends a message to an ecumenical symposium in Hungary, and urges everyone to pray and seek just peace without hesitation when we find ourselves in conflict with others.

In a message sent Friday to an Ecumenical Symposium taking place at the Benedictine Archabbey of Pannonhalma, Hungary, Pope Francis invited everyone to work toward the goal of peace.

He drew inspiration from the Rule of St. Benedict and the 6th century saint’s exhortations for his monks to live in peace.

The Pope noted that the event comes at a time when humanity has been “wounded and threatened by a world war fought piecemeal” that has damaging consequences on everyone, but especially the poorest.

He urged religious leaders and all the faithful to seek paths of peace and to pray for peace in our world.

“May we ourselves remain on the paths of peace,” he said. “Let us become messengers and servants of peace in the places where we live and work!”

Seek peace and follow it

Pope Francis recalled that St. Benedict, the patron saint of Europe, acted in his own time as a “messenger of peace, seeker of union, master of civility”, in the words of Pope St. Paul VI.

The saint urged his monks to “seek peace and follow after it” in the prologue to his Rule.

“The Rule of Benedict does not contain a treatise on the theme of peace,” he said, “but rather can be adopted as a good and practical guide in favor of peace.”

The Pope added that St. Benedict wrote for his monks but his message extends far beyond the walls of the monastery, since it “shows how human interactions can overcome dangers of disputes and disagreements with the grace of God.”

St Benedict’s legacy of peace

St. Benedict, noted the Pope, was well-aware of the interpersonal problems among members of the community, which can grow out of differences of language, ethnicity, and culture.

“He enjoyed a serene and pacific vision, which was fully aware of the equal dignity and value of all human beings,” said Pope Francis.

The saint invited his monks to show proper hospitality to anyone who visited the monastery, seeking to outdo one another “in showing each other honour.”

“The vision of peace of St. Benedict was not utopian,” concluded the Pope. “Rather it was oriented toward a path which God’s friendship with humanity has set out and which must be followed step-by-step by every community.” – Vatican News