Today is the memorial of the Church Father and martyr St.Ignatius of Antioch. For the past four years his feast day has been a particularly apt day to remember in prayer the suffering Church of Syria, as the majority of Syrian Chrisrians belong to either the Orthodox or Catholic see of Antioch. It is also an opportunity to pray for the people of Syria, and the refugees within that war torn country and those seeking refuge in Europe.
The late Fr. Basil Pennington wrote a wonderful little book on the rosary entitled "Praying By Hand"' which I would recommend to anyone seeking to deepen their meditation the traditional mysteries of the rosary.
But he also sugggested that individuals are free to meditate while praying the rosary on other incidents from the life of Jesus or themes drawn from his earthly or resurrected life. As the US Catholic Bishops wrote in their pastoral letter, "Behold Your Mother"' :
"Besides the precise rosary pattern well-known to Catholics, we can freely experiment... New sets of mysteries are possible."
Which is why in my own life of prayer, I have been meditating five incidents from the Holy Family's on flight into Egypt as a means of binding myself in prayer to the refugees fleeing from Syria, Iraq and elsewhere.
1. Herod Orders the Massacre of the Innocents.
-- for all of the victims and perpetrators of violence in Syria and Iraq
2. In a Dream the Angel Warns Joseph to Flee with his Family.
-- for all those faced with abandoning their homes, livelihoods and communities3. The Holy Family Make the Perilous Crossing of the Desert
-- for all those risking their lives crossing the conflict zones, deserts and the sea.
4. Jesus, Mary and Joseph Find Refuge Among the Egyptians
-- for all those working daily to assist and welcome the refugees
5. The Holy Family Are Able to Return to Nazareth
-- for an end to the conflict and peace with reconciliation in Syria
This is just my way. But in whatever way you. Choose to pray, please pray for the refugees and for an end to the war in Syria.