As we enter into this new year our readings this Sunday call us to the importance of listening. Samuel, the psalmist and the first apostles hear God’s word to them by attentively listening to God through the people and the events of their lives.We enter this year in a country where “fake news” masquerades as unrelenting lies; falsehoods and cover-ups are far more common by our elected leaders than transparency, reality and objective truth. One of the last acts of our elected officials last year was to shamelessly vote for and celebrate legislation which will harm a majority of their constituents; all this against the wishes of these very vocal constituents. The disregard for democracy, among those elected and sworn to protect it, is unprecedented in US history. Money appears to give people license to detach themselves from the collective fate of the rest of Americans. Children without healthcare, Dreamers and immigrant families, refugees, those suffering from natural disasters were all cast aside in order to serve the financial interests of the .1 percent most affluent people in the country, some of whom are these legislators’ major donors (and many of whom are the recipients of federal contracts.)
How do we listen and hear God’s word to us through these events and through the people in our lives? We know the lessons of history and know the dangers of leaders who have no regard for the truth, who demonize people more than speak out of love, who scapegoat minorities and who gather the wealth and resources of a nation as their own. As citizens informed by the Gospel, the life of the nonviolent Jesus and the example of Saint Francis who recognized the gifts and dignity of all God’s creation, we cannot remain indifferent but are impelled to bring a moral and nonviolent voice to the public arena.
In the 2017 World Day of Peace Message Pope Francis that “Active nonviolence is a way of showing that unity is truly more powerful and more fruitful than conflict.” Erica Chenoweth writes that even under the most repressive regimes, nonviolence proves twice as effective as violent movements. Pace e Bene is a Franciscan Organization which fosters a just and peaceful world through nonviolent education, community building and action, programs endorsed by the Franciscan Action Network. May we journey through this year saying each day “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.” (1 Sam.3:10) Show me what is mine to do today to be a nonviolent instrument of your peace.
Sr. Maryann Mueller, CSSF
FAN Board Secretary
Please click here to go to the Pace e Bene website. Commit to one nonviolent action this week.
May our nonviolent actions serve as an example of our passion for unity, we pray…
May we be attentive to the voice of God in our lives, we pray…
Almighty ever-living God,
who govern all things,
both in heaven and on earth,
mercifully hear the pleading of your people
and bestow your peace on our times.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever