Holy Thursday: Envision World of Goodness and Peace

by Sister Julie Ann on March 20, 2008

images.jpgThe power of imagination can visualize Francis’ dramatic visit to the Sultan at Damietta and Holy Week 2008 and the 5th year of the invasion of Iraq all at the same time. Artists use these moments to create inspirational masterpieces that speak to a world yet to come. As we gather around our Holy Thursday tables of Eucharist, words from our own Catholic Social Teaching and the Third Order Regular Rule of St. Francis linger for our reflection:

“War is a scourage and is never an appropriate way to resolve problems that arise between nations…”

“As they announce peace with their lips, let them be careful to have it even more within their own hearts. No one should be roused to wrath or insult on their account, rather all should be moved to peace, goodwill and mercy because of their gentleness…”

amish4.jpgOne artist, Martin Doblmeier, created the film The Power of Forgiveness. Like the Gospels, it is a testament that forgiveness does transform lives. Panning scenes from Northern Ireland to Ground Zero to the Amish countryside, one can view a world where people believe in good and take steps for peace.

6 thoughts on “Holy Thursday: Envision World of Goodness and Peace”

  1. Nancy Reyes says:

    Ah, sounds nice. But the reason you can sit in your safe monastery and imagine peace is because a lot of people are doing dangerous and sometimes violent work protecting you.

    Or would you tell the shepherds to be like the hireling and run away when the sheep are attacked?

  2. Nancy, we join you in praying and supporting all our brothers and sisters (and family members) who are serving in military action, those individuals who are leading reconstruction projects in another country besides their own, refugees, our Franciscan brothers and sisters who represent us on the United Nations. Your selection of a shepherd image is fitting. The loving shepherd sees all the needs of his flock and labors for the good of each one. Thank you for your comments.

  3. Pope Benedict XVI also addresses the reality of Jesus, the Good Shepherd;

    “The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep”(Jn.10:11). Just as the bread discourse does not merely allude to the word, but goes on to speak of the Word that became flesh and also gift “for the life of the world” (Jn.6:51), so too the shepherd discourse revolves completely around the idea of Jesus laying down his life for the “sheep.”

    The Cross is at the center of the shepherd discourse. And it is protrayed not as an act of violence that takes Jesus unawares and attacks him from the outside, but as a free gift of his very self: “I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it wdown of my own accord.” (Jn.10:17f).

    Here Jesus interprets for us what happens at the institution of the Eucharist: He transforms the outward violence of the act of crucifixion into an act of freely giving his life for others. Jesus does not give something, but rather he gives himself. And that is how he gives life.” It is freely given in peace for all people.
    (Pope Benedict XVI, “Jesus of Nazareth,” p.280)

  4. I appreciate your posting on envisioning a world of goodness and peace. Beyond any political opinions we may hold on war, we who call ourselves Christians must be mindful of Jesus saying to Peter, “Put away your sword”, in the garden when the soldiers came to take Jesus to his death. This is what I see as the power of the Amish after the school shootings: they stood in the face of violence and forgave. This is not efficient, it is not the “way of the world”, it is not popular but it is in the manner of Jesus.

    Jesus laying down his life for peace, for love and for humanity will not build “national pride” but it will build a “culture of life” where all are allowed to live and be respected.

    No wonder Francis’ motto was “Peace and all good”! He is said to have cautioned the people of Gubbio to feed the hungry wolf so it wouldn’t have to kill their animals and children. A “nice” story, to be sure, but also an overarching principle of “feeding” the needs of the world’s people so people don’t have to kill to get what is needed.

    I hope to view “The Power of Forgiveness” soon!

  5. Sister Marcolette Madden says:

    I think that the words of Pope Paul VI underscore the complexity involved in achieving peace. He asserted, “If you want peace, work for justice.” Institutions that strive for social equity are working for peace. Persons who strive to give “voice” to the underrepresented are working for peace.

    Just one example of the power of justice/respect for human dignity is the work of Sister Antoninus Hubatch. In 1967 she wrote a reader that “would be of particular interest to the Papgo and Yaqui Indians. All the pcitures were taken on the Papago Reservation and the children themselves wrote the text.” There was no attempt to dominate the minority culture, rather the endeavor centered on a great appreciation of the culture.

    There are many Sisters who take risks everyday: They approach other cultures with great reverence and with the desire to understand and appreciate their beliefs and values. The “battlefield” is the classroom, the parish, the inner city streets, or the village. I think they are living the words of Pope Paul VI: “If you want peace, work for justice.”

  6. Sister Marcolette, I appreciate your designation of classrooms as places of learning how to deal with conflict and scenes of celebrating the beauty and diversity of God’s creation. After hearing about the Biloxi, MS spring break experiences of the UW Whitewater students involved with Habitat for Humanity the last days, it was evident educational opportunities of this nature build more than houses. Pathways to peace happen every day.

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