Message of the President of the CBCK Committee for the Reconciliation of the Korean People
Praying for the Success of the Inter-Korean Summit
“Your will be done, on earth as in heaven” (Mt 6,10)
Last winter, indeed the harsh cold caused our lives and the land to freeze. However, new life and hope begin to sprout on this occasion of celebrating the resurrection of the Lord. May grace and peace from the risen Lord fill our lives in this warm and beautiful spring days (cf. 1Cor 1,3).
It has been very tumultuous time for the Korean Peninsula since it was divided into two. The inter-Korean summit is scheduled for April 27, 2018; it will be followed by a series of meetings between the countries directly involved in the division of the Korean Peninsula including North Korea?United States summit. There is a growing expectation that new era of peace on this land will come after the long confrontation and conflict of 65 years.
Thinking back on the last year, the situation of the Korean Peninsula was in impenetrable darkness in which we could not have any foresight. Crisis of war was escalated by heated arguments between the United States of America and North Korea, so we worried much about this situation. However, availing of the opportunity of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics which gained a great success, dialogue for peace and reconciliation was dramatically resumed out of extreme confrontation. It is like a miracle that could be unimaginable even six month ago. There is a lot of reasons why this dramatic change happened, but I think that the first and foremost reason is desperate prayers of the faithful. God answered our prayers with this valuable opportunity.
In 2015 which marked the 70th year since Korea broke apart, the Catholic Church in Korea declared the “first year of peace on the Korean Peninsula” in order to overcome national division. At the moment of crisis when the inter-Korean relationship was broken up, the Church in Korea felt the urgent need of the Lord’s help and guidance and so emphasized, most of all, the importance of prayers for peace with one accord. Pope Francis also called for all the local churches to pray for peace on the Korean Peninsula. Every evening at 9 o’clock, the Catholic Church in Korea, with one accord, took a moment to pray the Lord’s Prayer, Hail Mary and Glory be. Through these prayers, something miraculous is happening in this land by the help of God for whom nothing will be impossible (cf. Lk 1,37).
It has been a long time since the Cold War caused by ideological conflict was ended. Yet, the Korean Peninsula still remains in the obsolete Cold War era, having been in a state of cease-fire for 65 years. Due to the long ‘Cold War’ era in Korea, the hostile attitude against others is still deeply rooted in every corner of Korean society, disturbing the proper social order. While numerous people lost their lives and suffered throughout the painful history, divisions and conflicts within Korea get deeper and deeper. The Catholic Church in Korea also has been stuck in this narrow mind-set. Such a divisive and conflicting phenomena can be a huge obstacle which prevents our people from growth in the future.
The Lord, who removed the stone that blocked the entrance to the tomb and showed us the glory of the resurrection, invited us to His redemption, saying: “Take away the stone” (Jn 11,39). A very important moment is coming near to us, so that we can remove the obstacles that block us. On April 27, 2018, a historic inter-Korean summit will be held at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), the very symbol of division and conflict between South and North Korea. This is a precious opportunity that God gives us, Korean people. We need to fervently keep praying for a everlasting peace on this Korean Peninsula. In reality, there are so many mountains that we have to climb in the path towards the dialogue phase. Therefore, we need to pray all the more “so that the will of our Father may be done on earth as in heaven.”
Dear brothers and sisters! Please join us on our long journey to peace. As Pope Francis said, peace is fundamentally a gift from God. But it is not a gift that is gratuitously given to us. Our efforts to achieve peace are paramount. Rev. Henri Nouwen, a Dutch Catholic priest and spiritualist, taught that “peace is a divine gift, a gift we receive in prayer.” First of all, please pray for the upcoming inter-Korean summit to be successful under the Lord’s guidance. Please join us every night at 9:00 for a “Movement to Pray the Holy Rosary for Peace”, so that permanent peace can be settled on this land. Solidarity of nationwide prayer will be a solid foundation for peace.
“To shine on those who sit in darkness and death's shadow,
to guide our feet into the path of peace” (Lk 1,79).
April 13, 2018
+ Peter Lee Ki-heon
CBCK Committee for the Reconciliation of the Korean People