Tag Archive | peace

Advent Paths to Peace

For December I shall be adapting sections from “Advent Reflections 2018, Paths to Peace”:
PATHS TO PEACE – ecospiritualityresources.files.wordpress.com

Christians often refer to the Christ Child as the Prince of Peace. Many groups exchange a sign of peace during their services. When someone dies, we sometimes say: May s/he rest in peace. We pray for peace in our world, our families, our selves. Nobel awards a Peace Prize. We assume that the Cosmic Christ’s reign will be one of Peace on Earth. Let’s ponder the challenges of “peace.”

How do you feel when applying Pope Francis’s words to personal and national/international situations: “Peacemaking calls for courage, much more so than warfare. Only the tenacious say yes to encounter and no to conflict; yes to negotiations and no to hostilities; yes to respect for agreements and no to acts of provocation”?

In the Hebrew Bible, “shalom” is translated “peace.” (The image here includes “shalom” in Arabic and Hebrew.) Shalom is about wholeness. Each part of us (e.g., cells, organs, systems) is a whole entity, working for the good of the greater whole. Each person is part of larger wholes. Ultimately we are integral parts of our interconnected, expanding creation. No one and no thing can be excised from that whole. “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” (John Muir) Justice demands that each be given its proper respect.

Note that shalom is not the absence of tension or even of conflict. Think how our Universe somehow began with an expansion of particles and light and the repeated transformation of these particles as they gave themselves to become the next generation of elements within evolution. Eventually supernovas exploded so that the remains could become our solar system — and everything in it, including ourselves.

Death and conflict pervade creation, yet from the beginning, creation has kept in balance and harmony. Earth repaired disequilibriums whenever that was necessary. (E.g., when too much oxygen threatened the health of the atmosphere, Earth “invented” respiration to assure the presence of the right amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) to foster life. This required eons.) We know from experience that we, too, can heal, though sufficient time must be allowed.

Others have shed light on the meaning of peace. Margaret Anna Cusack (foundress of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace in the 19th century), emphasized the biblical conception of peace not as the absence of hostility but as the establishment of right relationships based on justice. Pope Paul VI repeated this concept in his famous 1972 quote: “If you want peace, work for justice.” The world awoke to yet another aspect of peace when Wangari Maathai won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 because of her efforts to save the environment and plant trees, thus contributing to social and ecological justice. How would you explain that to someone who didn’t understand why she won the award?

What right relationships based on justice seem most needed in our personal lives, our groups, our nation, church, and Earth? How can justice bring peace to these issues? What difference happens when we use positive words rather than negative ones, e.g., “work for justice” instead of “war on poverty”?

As we ponder the gift of Jesus’s example and teachings this Advent, let’s remember that “justice and righteousness” are needed to keep ourselves and the entire web of life whole/at peace. Any single thing we do for peace will affect many people, many other issues. As with the mobile (on the left), touching any one part affects the whole. Butterfly wings flapping somewhere influence weather patterns elsewhere; stones cast into water result inripples that extend and intersect. We cannot do one thing in our interconnected universe!

Paths to Christmas Peace

Mid-September I met a friend in a major department store in Chicago. Although it was over a month before Hallowe’en and two months before Thanksgiving, it was already festooned with, and was selling, Christmas items!

If stores were in Christmas mode then, it is not too soon for me to post about the spiritual preparations for Christmas that the Christian tradition calls “Advent,” from the Latin ad (to) venire (come). 

Advent resource focusing on Peace

Each year I offer a resource to help individuals and groups prepare for Christmas by placing the mystery of Incarnation (made into flesh) within the universe story and current realities. This year my Advent resource is “Paths to Peace.” The blurb on my Advent Resources site lists it as follows:

Advent.2018.Paths.to.Peace – 12 sides

Explore the meaning of peace in the light of justice and whole-making; the inner journey and consciousness; obstacles to inner and outer (world-wide) peace; and a final reflection on Mary and Eucharist. An additional page focuses on the obstacles to inner and outer peace created by current weaponry. Each week includes excerpts from the Sunday liturgical readings, times of silence, awareness of divinity living and acting within us and our world, and suggestions for the week. Useful for individuals but designed for groups.

This resource is available free at Advent.2018.Paths.to.Peace.

Pertinent dates before Advent related to arms, violence, and the unity that prevents war

October: Domestic Violence Awareness Month, recognizing the need to collaborate in solving both sexual assault and domestic violence. 

Oct. 12: Indigenous Peoples’ Day, replacing Columbus Day (celebrated Oct. 8)

Oct. 24: UN Day and Global Oneness Day

Oct. 24-30: Disarmament Week 

Nov. 6: International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict

Nov. 25: International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Nov. 30: International Remembrance Day for Lost Species (cf. past grieving blogs)

Dec. 3: First Sunday of Advent 

Recommended resource

Did you know that Megan Rice, SHCJ, has been called “the biggest threat to our nuclear arms stockpile”? The following 15 min. interview with Megan shows her awareness of the threats of nuclear stockpiles, her total commitment to reducing them, and yet her ability to remain peaceful and respectful. Thanks for your actions for, and your example of, peace, Megan!

http://www.unabridgedpress.com/the-biggest-threat-to-our-nuclear-arms-stockpile-a-nun/

Suggested Action

The U.S. Constitution gives Congress the sole and exclusive authority to declare war. Send a message to your senators asking them to co-sponsor S.3517, legislation that limits funding for active military operations in or against Iran. A few clicks can help to stop a war with Iran.

Paths to Peace

Someone kindly alerted me that the link to my Advent reflection, “Paths to Peace,” advent_grwas not working. In case others have had the misfortune of clicking it only to find nothing, I assure readers that you can now click Advent.2015. Paths to Peace and connect with this four-session resource.

Although the Scripture readings come from Advent liturgies, and the sessions refer to Advent, reflecting on peace is always current. Adapt these pages for use at any time, for we always need to deepen our sense of shalom within and in relation to others, to creation, and to divinity. “Paths to Peace” includes additional information for U.S. participants that relates to today’s weapons, especially nuclear ones.

Hiroshima atomic bomb damageU.S. taxpayers, according to the National Catholic Reporter (Sept. 25-October 8, 2015), will have to pay “nearly $1 trillion over the next quarter century” for weapons like those on a Trident submarine, each with destructive force some 30 times greater than the destructive force of either of the bombs dropped on Japan in 1945. Do imagine that!

Rather than repeat the full description of “Paths to Peace” here, I suggest you click on my Advent page: https://ecospiritualityresources.com/advent.

Peace be with you — now, during Advent, and always!