Today, I attended a retreat nearby on Long Island to contemplate not only the situation in my surrounding world, but also what kind of a role I can actually manage to ply and craft to be an active part of something bigger than just my own comfort and existence.
I sometimes feel that there is so much helplessness, things seem so futile, then someone says something almost prophetic! At my discussion table was a school social worker. He picked up on something I had mentioned and made an analysis about how many of the people who believe in and work for peace and justice have vestiges of trauma, much as family members of alcoholic parents would have. We are discouraged or outright instructed NOT to talk about peace. Much of the nationalistic glory and “bombs bursting in air” sung with an almost proud incognizance seem to have the feel of something Jesus “wouldn’t do”. Yet, the most seemingly devout and pious have been the most vocal in announcing their perception of the importance of killing others first. To which, I can only envision a cycle of evil-embodied, leading to mutual self-annihilation in reciprocity because of the groundswell of fear and hate which blocks and resists anything else.
And so, as the afternoon clouds sifted across a blue Long Island sky, my heart felt the presence of all the souls – those in my own family who have passed into another realm, and those in my extended human family who have, by the hands of others, been catapulted into leaving this world, in violence mostly, sometimes in peace, but more often than not, in an unnatural confusion that can only be likened to a chaos of evil.
To the Spirit who I want to believe rides the wind and hears our whispers, I reiterate two powerful stanzas from today’s closing prayer, hoping that this Spirit will bless us all enough for us to clearly choose to make a difference in our world:
“May God bless you with discomfort..at easy answers, hard hearts, half truths and superficial relationships. May God bless you so that you may live from deep within your heart where God’s spirit dwells…. May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, in your neighborhood. So that you will courageously try what you don’t think you can do, but In Jesus Christ, you will have all the strength necessary…” (Troubadour: A Missionary Magazine. Franciscan Missionary Society)