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, June 22, 2008
Become Peace for Others
"We reached agreement on the need to take care of the Iranian threat. I left with a lot less question marks [than] I had entered with regarding the means, the timetable restrictions, and American resoluteness to deal with the problem. George Bush understands the severity of the Iranian threat and the need to vanquish it, and intends to act on that matter before the end of his term in the White House." - Ehud Olmert after a visit with George Bush in June 2008.
Thucydides once was asked, 'When will there be justice in Athens?' He replied, 'There will be justice in Athens when those who are not injured are as outraged as those who are.'
The cultivation of inner peace is not the cultivation of peace with death, with violence, with injustice. The way of Christ is well described by one of the Fathers of monasticism, "The monk is one whose gaze is fixed on God," St. Theodore wrote centuries ago, "who desires God above all else, who applies himself to God, who seeks to serve God alone, in peace with God, and so becoming peace for others."
Peace is not a psychological state which is induced by the application of the techniques of self-hypnosis. Such "peace" is another type of psychological death, a way of numbing the soul to the inherent pain of a world ruled by the principalities and powers spoken of by St. Paul. True peace can only be discovered in complete openness to the pain of injustice.
The refreshment of peace pours like an ice-cold stream of beauty into the heart. "If we want to change the world and create peace, we can begin by creating peace within ourselves," the Dalai Lama teaches. "If we practice peace, we can teach the rest of the world."
In the silence of true peace, we find the faith to douse the flames of war. We will find peace when we are outraged at what is being done to Palestinians even if we are not Palestinian and know no Palestinians personally. The relentless focus of current media is on the "personal". By keeping our attention narrowly focused on ourselves and our immediate impressions and needs, the image of what we have become to those outside, in the darkness we have created, can be hidden. The greatness of spirit that embraces oppression wherever it is found, even if it does not affect us materially, was shared by millions a few short decades ago. And it will live again.
Do not let the spirit of ignorant "peace" dull the edge of your resistance. Rage against the war against Iran that steps closer each day.