CWN - Following the recitation of the Angelus on February 19, Pope Francis asked those gathered in St. Peter’s Square to pray for peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Kasai-Central province, where clashes between the army and a militia have left more than 100 dead.

“News continues to reach us of violent and brutal clashes in the region of Central Kasai of the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” the Pope said. “I feel intensely the grief of the victims, especially for so many children torn from their families and from school to be used as soldiers.”

He continued, “I assure my closeness and prayer, also for the religious and humanitarian personnel who work in that difficult region; and I renew my heartfelt appeal to the conscience and the responsibility of the national authorities and of the international community, so that appropriate and timely decisions are taken to help these brothers and sisters of ours.”

The Pope also prayed for "all peoples suffering also in other parts of the African continent and of the world due to violence and war. I am thinking, in particular, of the beloved populations of Pakistan and of Iraq, scourged by cruel terrorist acts in past days. Let us pray for the victims, for the wounded and for their relatives. Let us pray ardently that every heart hardened by hatred is converted to peace, in keeping with God’s will. Let us pray for a moment in silence."

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Teachings of Christ

“Whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:33 ESV)

Christ is Born!

Your Nativity, O Christ our God, * has dawned upon the world the light of knowledge. * for through it, those who served the stars * were taught by a star to worship You, the Sun of Righteousness * and to know You, the Dawn from on high. * Glory to You, O Lord! (Troparion, Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Today the Virgin gives birth to the Transcendent One, * and the earth offers a cave to the Unapproachable One. * Angels and shepherds sing His glory; * Wise Men journey with a star * for there is born for us an infant Child, the God Who is before all ages. (Kontakion, Tone 3)

Random Proverb

"Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live." (Proverbs 4:4 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Demons often transform themselves into angels of light and take the form of martyrs, and make it appear to us during sleep that we are in communication with them. Then, when we wake up, they plunge us into unholy joy and conceit. But you can detect their deceit by this very fact. For angles reveal torments, judgments and separations; and when we wake up we find that we are trembling and sad. As soon as we begin to believe the demons in dreams, then they make sport of us when we are awake too. He who believes in dreams is completely inexperienced. 'But he who distrusts all dreams is a wise man. Only believe dreams that warn you of torments and judgments. But if despair afflicts you, then such dreams are also from demons.

St. John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent