November, 2015

Dear friends, Peace be with you!

Thank you for visiting my website! I’ve had this website since 2001, when my friends at Hopeworks in Camden, New Jersey, approached me about setting up one of their first websites. I’ve tried to post all my most important writings, information about my books and my speaking schedule, but I’m never sure if it’s worth it. Let me know what you think! You can always write to me by clicking on the email button on the top line.

I spent the month of October home on my mountaintop hermitage near Santa Fe, New Mexico, writing two new books. This month, I will lead a retreat called “Living Nonviolence” at Kirkridge, which I think is the best retreat center in the United States.

I remain as passionate about Christian nonviolence as ever, and think it remains the only hope for us personally, nationally, and globally, as well as for the church. It involves every aspect of human life, from psychology and family life to work and spirituality, to solving international conflict and saving the planet. Every one of us has been raised in violence, and every one of us is on a journey toward nonviolence, whether we know it or not. The invitation is to wake up, become conscious, start practicing nonviolence, and do your to help welcome God’s reign of nonviolence here on earth.

To that end, I try to read from the Gospels every morning, and every morning I am once again astonished by the nonviolence of Jesus. The other day, I was dumbfounded by Jesus’ remarks to Pilate in John’s Gospel, which are fitting words to ponder as we head toward the feast of Christ the King, just before Advent.

“My kingdom is not of this world,” the nonviolent Jesus tells the representative of the Roman Empire who will order his execution. “If my kingdom were of this world, my attendants would be fighting to protect me. But as it is, my kingdom is not of this world.”

In other words, Jesus says, “If I were violent like you, my followers will use violence to try to protect me. But we are nonviolent.” That is the sole difference with the Kingdom of God and this world, with God and us. The Kingdom of God is perfectly nonviolent. God is perfectly nonviolent. Any one who wants to follow Jesus has to turn from violence and start down the new road of nonviolence. That’s the spiritual life.

“The kingdom of God is nonviolence,” Gandhi wrote. That is such a profound truth, one worth daily meditation. This truth keeps me working hard to build I think the God of peace wants us all to help build up a global grassroots movement of nonviolence, and I ask for your help with this great project.

Please join us, contribute to the cause, and organize you own public event in 2016. I hope you will get my new books “Walking the Way” and “Thomas Merton Peacemaker,” and help support my writing projects by giving them as gifts at Christmas, particularly to your priest or minister, or to a young person.

All of this is to say that I encourage you on your own journey of nonviolence as you follow Jesus and do what you can to work for justice, disarmament and peace. May the God of peace bless you with every blessing of peace, and together, we may welcome God’s kingdom of nonviolence with all our hearts.

Very truly yours,

Fr. John