An blog by a member of the Catholic peace movement, Pax Christi, to explore the nexus between contemplation and resistance. "The Christian must discover in contemplation, and in the giving of his life, those symbolic actions which will ignite the people's faith to resist injustice with their whole lives, lives coming together as a united force of truth and thus releasing the liberating power of the God within them." - James Douglass, Contemplation and Resistance.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Where Mercy Walks the Plank



Blessed Franz Jagerstatter, Pray for us!

In the sixties, there was chaotic confusion about the difference between tradition and that which disrupts tradition. The resistance which is now growing in the U.S. is profoundly traditional. See the video and particularly the speech of John Nichols at this link: Defending the Constitution. What is becoming blazingly obvious is that the movement for peace and justice comes from a passion to re-found ourselves in the compassion from which we were born. By embracing nonviolence, we grow new roots in soil ravaged by the rootless drive of modern imperialism. It is precisely the "conservatives" in the modern sense of the term that have lost their moorings and attempt to root themselves in a past that never existed.

True radicalism (rootedness) is found in voices such as that of Blessed Franz Jagerstatter. In the recent statement "People Breaking the Silence", Catholics from across the U.S., inspired by the martyrdom of Blessed Franz, and moved by a spirit of repentance, say with him, "If the Church stays silent in the face of what is happening, what difference would it make if no church were ever opened again?" Why are we so desperate for Church survival that we are ready to sacrifice the one prize that makes the Church worthy of survival? What difference does it make that the pews are full when hearts are cold to the madness of oppressors?

Some demons are cast out only by fasting and prayer: "Our faith tradition teaches us that the grace of prayer and fasting can conquer greed and the lust for power that lead to war." Some of us go farther and say that prayer and fasting and the suffering found in the cross can actually end war, not simply the lusts that impel those weakened by their dependence on violence to extend their habitual murder.

Let us take the pain of this war into ourselves, by dedicating ourselves throughout Lent to embrace the nonviolent cross, to do penance for those who have hardened themselves against the suffering of Iraqi children, women and men, blustering that they will continue their murders so long as only lesser lives are blasted.

"Therefore, we intend to fast and pray without ceasing throughout the entire season of Lent. In purifying ourselves of this suffering caused by war, we hope to extend this mercy to the mother church of the Diocese."

We must particularly ask forgiveness participating in violence by our silence, our failure to resist even to the point of direct action, as Jesus showed us how to commit in the Temple. Silence under these circumstances is sin.

Please read the entire statement and consider signing and, more vitally, participating in this Lenten fast: People Breaking the Silence

In Memory of Franz: Lord Jesus Christ, You filled your servant Franz Jagerstatter with a deep love for you, his family, and all people. During a time of contempt for God and humankind, you bestowed on him unerring discernment and integrity.

In Faith he followed his conscience and said a decisive NO to National Socialism (Nazism) and unjust war. Thus he sacrificed his life. We pray that you may glorify your servant Franz, so that many people may be encouraged by him and grow in love for you and all people. May his example shine out in our time and may you grant all people the strength to stand up for justice, peace and human dignity.

For yours is the glory and honor with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.

May we pray likewise: In faith, we follow our conscience and say a decisive NO to corporate imperialism that wastes entire countries and rips lives apart through unmastered greed and mindless technological supremism.

"We petition our Bishops in all Dioceses to enable us to pray at our Cathedrals, the centers of our church; and we further petition our Bishops to support, pray and fast with us to help us cleanse our souls of the immorality of war, the immorality of torture, and the immorality of occupation. We invite and welcome the participation of all peoples of conscience in our efforts for peace in our world. Together we can fulfill our responsibility to our youth to educate them about forming a conscience consistent with the way and teaching of Jesus."

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