TORONTO – To achieve global peace we must first find it individually, within our own hearts, said Cardinal Thomas Collins.
"We cannot give what we haven't got," said Collins, the archbishop of Toronto.
"We must find it within our own hearts . . . to do what we can through prayer and through every other way we can to reach out to people around the world who are suffering," he said.
Collins made his remarks as he opened a Sept. 7 Mass at St. Michael's Cathedral offered for peace in the Middle East, specifically in Syria.
The Toronto Mass, which drew about 1,000 people, was one of hundreds celebrated in dioceses around the world, following the lead of Pope Francis, who led a similar vigil for an estimated 100,000 people in St. Peter's Square.
During his homily, Collins echoed the words of Pope Francis who told those gathered in Rome that selfishness is the ultimate cause of war.
"We need to look to the motivations that lead to violence," said Collins. "It is the ego that is the heart of it all."
While Collins stressed the need for peace in the Middle East, he also reminded those in attendance that we are not without our own problems locally.
"We cannot say those people over there do not have peace but we are just great," said Collins.
"We need repentance, all of us do, and we don't need to point our fingers to people on the other side of the world and say they need to change.
"Remember when I am pointing a finger at somebody else I have got three of them pointing back at myself."
That's a message Saif Aziza, who travelled from Mississauga, Ont., to attend the Mass, agreed with.
"It's like the cardinal said, we can't just point the finger on the other but (rather) we have to think of ourselves, like start to change ourselves," said Aziza.
An immigrant from Iraq, Aziza, said what is happening in Syria hurts him.
"I feel for them," he said. "I just really hope that what is happening there ends as soon as possible."
Collins said, "We pray for the people of Syria of all different faiths who have so long lived in peace with one another and now there is this great pain."