March, 2016

Dear friends,

 

Peace be with you!

 

Like everyone else, I’m appalled at the new levels of hate, hostility and war that our nation is sinking into. After decades of war, killing millions of people in Vietnam, Central America, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan, Libya and Syria, after decades of nuclear weapons, executions, racism, police shootings, corporate greed and environmental destruction, why would I expect people to rise to the level of love, compassion and peace? And yet I still hope we could wake up, disarm and change.

 

To move in a more positive, noble, peaceful direction, we all have to renounce fear and non-cooperate with the fear-mongering that we are being fed in the media and by the politicians. Refusing to live in fear may be the first step in the spiritual life of peace. We cannot be afraid. We do not need to be afraid. We’re all going to die one day anyway, so we learn to make peace with ourselves, with our lives and our deaths, with everyone else and all creation. In that peace, we can go forward to serve others and transform the culture.

 

We need to renounce and resist the politics of hate, hostility and war, and the fear that these insanities feed on, and pursue instead the politics of love, justice and peace, and the vision of nonviolence that inspires the best of us.

 

I urge people to stop listening to the voices of hate, hostility and war, whether from our political candidates, their media pundits, their corporate benefactors, their military warmakers or their religious advisors. Instead, listen to the noble voices who call out the best of us, heroes like Martin Luther King, Jr., Mahatma Gandhi and Dorothy Day. Put your energies into the grassroots movements of nonviolence, such as our www.campaignnonviolence.org project and the new Nonviolent Cities project that I’m helping to organize.

 

Our goal should be the transformation of this culture of war and violence into a culture of peace and nonviolence. We should be helping one another pursue that vision, that new world, and we should demand it of one another, support those who work for it, and chip it to help support such movements.

 

As part of my ongoing work to teach nonviolence, next month I will host my first ever online webinar class called “Living Nonviolence,” available from www.paceebene.org. There will be six video classes starting Monday April 4th. Every Monday for six weeks, you will receive access to a 10 minute video of me discussing nonviolence. You can then send in email questions and comments, and by the end of that week, a journal/reflection on the questions I offer. You can watch the videos and take the class on your own, or with friends or your local peace group. To register, visit the website. You will find there outlines and further details about the classes. Registration closes on March 30th. I hope you will join us for this class on living nonviolence!

 

As we continue our Lenten journey and go into Easter, I invite us all to continue to follow the nonviolent Jesus on the path of peace and do what we can to promote his vision of nonviolence.

 

Blessings of peace to you all! – Fr. John