"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.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Meet as a Prophet Should

"[Dorothy Day] would urge us to receive our sacraments and say our prayers. She would insist on our serving the poor and risking arrest. 'Love is a great and holy force,' she said, 'and must be used as a spiritual weapon.'" - Fr. John Dear

As Pope Benedict XVI embraces the man whose decisions are responsible for the murder and torture of millions of Iraqis, we can only silently point to those who suffered these decisions and then took action at great personal risk to themselves and ask ourselves, who are the saints of this age? "When I returned to LA my heart was full. I realized that I’d been in the presence of true greatness; filled with the light of brilliant stars, our Winter Soldier Veterans, whose truths illuminated me from a distant sky and everyone said, 'They’re so beautiful. They’re so bright.'" - April Fitzsimmons, "Winter Soldier"

Is there any chance the Pope will speak to Bush as he did last year when he said the following: "This page of the Gospel is rightly considered the 'magna carta' of Christian nonviolence; it does not consist in surrendering to evil -- as claims a
false interpretation of 'turn the other cheek' (Luke 6:29) -- but in responding to evil with good. (Romans 12:17-21), and thus breaking the chain of injustice. It is thus understood that nonviolence, for Christians, is not mere tactical behavior but a person's way of being, the attitude of one who is convinced of God's love and power, who is not afraid to confront evil with the weapons of love and truth alone. Loving the enemy is the nucleus of the 'Christian revolution,' a revolution not based on strategies of economic, political or media power. The revolution of love, a love that does not base itself definitively in human resources, but in the gift of God, that is obtained only and unreservedly in his merciful goodness. Herein lies the novelty of the Gospel, which changes the world without making noise. Herein lies the heroism of the 'little ones,' who believe in the love of God and spread it even at the cost of life." - Pope Benedict XVI, Feb. 18, 2007

I believe that Iraqis would welcome such a "Christian revolution." Please consider going to Jonah House website at http://www.jonahhouse.org/Kobasa_Benedict.htm
and signing the letter that contains the following:

"In your own words, 'today we should be asking ourselves if it is still licit to admit the very existence of a "just war".' Yet, during your upcoming visit to the United States, you are planning to meet with President George W. Bush, whose empty justifications for the violence in Iraq lead to increasing numbers of dead, injured and displaced people. Iraqi civilians still endure the 'continual slaughter' which you described in your 2007 Easter Sunday address.

Shortly before the U.S. invaded Iraq, you rightly declared that 'there were not sufficient reasons to unleash a war.' You've also called attention to the terrible new technologies which cause indiscriminate destruction. Five years later, how much more reason you have to call for an immediate end to this war, and to refuse to meet with the President of the United States until that is accomplished.

If you kneel in grief and outrage before the cross of the tortured Christ, can you offer your blessing to a head of government who excuses the most terrible abuses of human minds and bodies as 'legal'?

If meet with him you must, then meet as a prophet should – issuing a warning and an invitation to repentance. Courtesy cannot be used as an evasion of our biblical faith. Ezekiel was repeatedly reminded of his responsibility to admonish those doing evil if he desired to escape sharing in the responsibility for their sins. Shouldn't any of us who recognize the horror of what is happening in Iraq be condemned if we are silent?

You are scheduled to be in Washington, D.C. on the anniversary of your birth. We feel sure that you will be thinking of the countless children of Iraq who never reached their fifth birthday. In 2005 alone, 122,000 Iraqi children under age five died. There are many, both within the Church and outside of it, who long for your voice to speak for those innocent dead and - face to face with those whose policies denied all respect for their lives - demand that the killing stop." - Jonah House

The Christian conscience is seared by the separation of faith from life. There can be no reconciliation without a commitment to justice. Can you imagine the pope calling Catholics to fight for justice like this: "Imagine something called Justice Revivals in the powerful tradition of revivals past, but focusing on the great moral issues of our time. Imagine linking the tradition of Billy Graham with the tradition of Martin Luther King Jr. Imagine a new generation of young people catching fire and offering their gifts, talents, and lives in a new spiritual movement for social justice. Imagine such revivals taking place in cities’ great convention centers, but resulting in thousands of small groups for ongoing discipleship, training, and action in every neighborhood of those cities. Imagine disillusioned believers coming back to faith after many years of alienation, while other seekers discover the power of faith for the first time. Imagine social movements rising out of spiritual revival and actually changing the wind of both our culture and our politics. Imagine a fulfillment in our time of the words of the prophet Amos: 'Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.' Just imagine." - Jim Wallis

Can you imagine Pope Benedict XVI failing to do so? Or yourself failing to take the place of your Christian brother who has failed in his duty to fight for social justice? Do you feel the call?

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