The 2018 "Lamp of Peace"

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The 2018 "Lamp of Peace"

By Fr. Dr. Rif'at Bader

It was not surprising that the Franciscan Order in the city of Assisi (174 kilometers north of Rome) has awarded its annual prize, the "Lamp of Peace" to Their Majesties King Abdullah II Ben Al Hussein and Queen Rania Al Abdullah. The city of Assisi has a special historical value. This is the city of St. Francis, named Assisi after the city. He lived between the 12th and the 13th centuries into a rich family that traded in silk. Yet, he distributed his wealth to the poor and proceeded to establish his lasting order called “Franciscan”.

Francis was known for his humility, openness, and love for all people. He called for glorifying the Creator through the environment and the creatures. Even, his prayer “Laudato Si” has become in the 21st century a title the Pope--who took the name “Francis as a blessing”-- borrowed to name a document “On Care for Our Common Home”. Francis of the 12th century prayer for peace saying, “Lord, make me a tool for Your peace”. This became a symbol of the peace which the world longs for and at a time when the religious leaders pray for the political leaders to be lamps for peace and makers of peace. Furthermore, the world’s observation this year of the 800th anniversary of St. Francis’ visit to Egypt to meet with Sultan Mohammad Al-Ayyoubi is considered the first inter-faith dialogue.

The Franciscan 'Lamp of Peace' was launched in 1981 and was awarded to several religious and political leaders. This symbolic prize was awarded to Their Majesties the King and the Queen owing to “their hosting of refugees, their interest in promoting human rights and brotherhood, as well as for working for the attainment of peace," according to the statement.

A few weeks ago, the world focused attention on Washington where His Majesty the King received the Templeton Prize for Interfaith Dialogue. Eyes are currently focused on the light of lamp emerging from Assisi. The light of Assisi has brightly illuminated Al-Hussein Cultural Center for the first time with the celebration marking Christmas in the presence of Palestinian President Abu Mazin who received the Assisi Award in 2014 as had been the case with his predecessor Yasser Arafat in 1990.

The hymns, exuding the pure smell of incense, sung at Al-Hussein Cultural Center called for love and peace. It, furthermore, emphasized the wisdom of those in charge of the prize in Italy. The Christian order, “the Salt of the Earth and the Light of the World” whose light spread from Jordan after the Baptism of Lord Christ all over the world, will also honor other models who disseminate "brotherhood and faith" which have been the slogan of Al-Hussein Cultural Center ceremony.

I also had the honor to shake hands with His Majesty the King, after the Christmas ceremony and congratulate him for being awarded the Assisi Prize "Lamp of Peace". I once more congratulate Their Majesties the King and the Queen and to the extended Jordanian family.

Abouna.org@gmail.com

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