Justice and Peace, Through Integrity of Creation

Frank Morris
 By Frank Morris, FAN Board Member

We live in an age of wonders.

The phrase tikkun olam is part of Aleinu, a Jewish prayer that is traditionally recited three times daily. The Aleinu expresses hope that the whole world will one day recognize God and abandon idolatry. The phrase tikkun olam is used in the longer expression l’takken olam b’malkhut Shaddai, “to perfect the world under God’s sovereignty.”  Humanity is instructed to take the steps towards improving the state of the world and helping others, which simultaneously brings more honor to God’s sovereignty.

Scholars being scholars, and the language of the prayer Aleinu being quite ancient, some argue that the phrase is not a valid source for the concept of tikkun olam, and that the confusion arises because of the homonym “l’takken” (spelled differently, לתכן) means “to establish” rather than “to fix” or “to repair.” I expect scholars and the less scholarly to argue until Gabriel’s trumpet sounds. So it goes.

In our own Catholic Franciscan tradition, the goal of the Common Good plays strong. Our Christ and Redeemer taught simply to Love God, Love neighbor, the whole law hangs on this.

We live in an age of wonders.

To serve the goals (our Greek friends would say the telos) of tikkun olam and the common good, Franciscans, Jesuits, and MANY other groups have established Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation boards and committees. These groups work for restorative justice. The good works of these committees and the persons involved is manifold.

But have any considered that perhaps the only way to reach the goals of Justice and Peace and Restorative Justice (Restoration as Renewal) is to uncompromisingly work for the Integrity Of Creation? Before Humanity walked the Earth, their was nature. And in nature there are examples of symbiotic reciprocity, harmony, and order. But nature is also cruel, unforgiving, bloody, subtle, and rife with trickery and deception.

Our God is a great God! Just see, hear, taste and feel His work! Let your senses drink it in! God’s work is extraordinary in all it’s forms. He has provided humanity with intelligence, will, and grace in a world that is abundant. Humanity is God’s greatest work.

We live in an age of wonders.

But I heard a bitter song today. Cash Rules Everything Around Me, was the title. The video for the song showed angry young men from the housing projects of Staten Island NY describing their lives in 1993. I lived for a time not 3 miles from those buildings. I believe to actuate restorative justice, we must build a human economy based on the integrity of creation. The old Latin word for integrity meant “Intact”.

Integrity: “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.”  Now, please compare the concept of integrity, with the idolatry of Mammon. The idolatry and bitterness of Cash Rules Everything Around Me.  Mammon will buy and sell anything, for a profit.  Mammon has no limits.  Mammon has no consideration for what it consumes.  Mammon Has No Mercy.  The worship of Mammon is probably the greatest threat to Justice and Peace in the world.  And Jesus said it best, “You can not love God, and Money.”

But Jesus also upheld for emulation, the servant that properly invested the masters money in the parable of the talents.  To build an economy of restorative justice, our efforts should strive to uphold the integrity of creation, for the common good.  Ecological innovations are available, now.  Ecological innovation distribute the prosperity of God’s creation.  Ecological innovations provide goods at the most local level, in subsidiarity.  Ecological Innovations undermine the warping power of exploitative business models that honer only Mammon and the vicious laws of the market.

To make this case, I offer 2 brief examples-which I feel can be extrapolated widely.  PEMEX is the national oil and gas company in Mexico.  PEMEX was formed by The Institutional Revolutionary Party (Spanish: Partido Revolucionario Institucional, PRI) in 1938.  PEMEX had 128 Billion dollars in revenues in 2012.  PEMEX is a rich company-and Mexico is a poor country.  Would an economy based on ecological innovation, better serve the people of Mexico?  Would ecological innovation, be a means to restorative justice?

In Germany, in the Village of Feldheim, all electricity their is generated by sun, wind, and pig waste.  The villagers have built a micro electricity grid-and sell their extra electricity to the national grid.  The villagers are installing batteries to store electricity, and run their vehicles.  Ecological Innovations like these are happening globally.

Aleinu in Hebrew: עָלֵינוּ, means “it is our duty”.  It is our duty as Franciscans to work for justice and peace and integrity of creation.  It is our duty to deny Mammon, and build an economy that provides without the pollution of sin and exploitation. It is our duty by precedent and example to serve God and the common good.

Money talks-but the Voice of God speaks stronger, with the strength of the legions of the living and the communion of saints, with the strength of the counsel of pure legitimate faith found in scripture, in sacraments, in deeds, and in the signs of the times.  But mostly the Voice of God speaks in Spirit and in Truth, and in acts of sanctity.

“If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts,” Psalm 95, for “With God all things are possible.”  Matthew 19:26

Published in: on October 16, 2014 at 11:21 am  Leave a Comment  

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