Friday, January 01, 2010

World Day of Peace

For more than thirty years the popes have designated January 1 as World Peace Day and issued statements on peace, justice, environment, poverty and other related themes.

This year's theme, from Pope Benedict XVI, is "If you want to cultivate peace, protect creation." It's an important theme but in light of the violence and injustice in Honduras, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the continuing unrest in Palestine and Israel, and the role of the US in these and other conflicts, I'd like to offer this quote from the Trappist monk Thomas Merton:
Instead of hating the people you think are war-makers, hate the appetites and disorder in your own soul, which are the causes of war. If you love peace, then hate injustice, hate tyranny, hate greed - but hate these things in yourself, not in another.
- Thomas Merton,
 "The Root of War Is Fear," New Seeds of Contemplation


Anonymous said...

Peace be with you, Brother John.

Thanks for letting me know about the mislaid comment. I think I need a computer screen the size of a barn to compensate for my eyes.

Akismet (the anti-spam software that Wordpress uses) unjustly jailed your comments over on Mercury Rising. I have released them, with humble apologies for Akismet's misbehavior. It's frustrating to write a comment and post it, only to have it vanish.

As for the question about who is a Christian, it arises from very intense questioning about why so many people who called themselves Christians did not care for the poor, or even denied that caring for the poor was a Christian duty-- even said that the poor were poor because they were evil. I wrote a short essay on it here and a lectio divina analysis, which is not back on line yet.

You might enjoy two books, The Family (Sharlet) and Crazy for God (Schaeffer), which go into the phenomenon of what might be called "imperial Christianity," in which the church is taken over by the prince of this world.

Perhaps Merton's advice on this topic would be that we should not hate those who call themselves Christians, but do not genuinely care for the poor, but to hate what creates such divides: the sense of impunity and invulnerability. Feeling vulnerable and finite is the real reward of service.


Anonymous said...

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