The Beatitudes: A Program of Nonviolence

Reflection for the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time by FAN Board Member, Sr. Maryann Mueller, CSSF

This reflection was originally posted in our January 23rd newsletter

peace-sign-in-a-parkWe are just days into a new leadership team that has taken charge of our national government with the purpose, along with we the people, “to form a more perfect union, establish justice … promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and to our children.” (Preamble to the Constitution of the United States) In the January 1st World Day of Peace message, Nonviolence: a Style of Politics for Peace, Pope Francis refers to the Beatitudes as, “a programme and a challenge for political and religious leaders, the heads of international institutions, and business and media executives, to apply the Beatitudes in the exercise of their respective responsibilities. It is a challenge to build up society, communities and businesses by acting as peacemakers. It is to show mercy by refusing to discard people, harm the environment, or seek to win at any cost.”

Pope Francis teaches that the Beatitudes can help us realize the significance of “being more over having more.” Our new presidential administration is comprised of individuals whose material resources render this cabinet the wealthiest in history. In the next few years, each of these individuals will leave a legacy of who they are as human beings by how they utilized their time in office. Will they use their position to advance and multiply their own wealth or will their actions and policies serve to acknowledge the dignity of “we the people” and include support for the most vulnerable in our nation and world? Will God’s creation suffer further devastation or will measures be put into place in attempts to sustain and restore our endangered Earth?

Each of us who attempts to follow in the footsteps of the nonviolent Jesus is called to do all we can to “secure justice for the oppressed, set captives free, raise up those who were bowed down, and protect strangers” (Psalm 146) As we pray for our new national leaders we live with hope that their actions will be rooted in justice and peace for all human beings on earth and for all God’s creation. Yet, as environmentalist David Orr reminds us, “hope is a verb with your shirt sleeves rolled up.” As “we the people,” let us remember history teaches that “change in the lives of people, nations and states have come about ‘by means of peaceful protest, using only the weapons of truth and justice… by the non-violent commitment of people who, while always refusing to yield to the force of power, succeeded time after time in finding effective ways of bearing witness to the truth.’” (Nonviolence: a Style of Politics for Peace) Let us pray for the grace to always follow the program of nonviolence outlined in the Beatitudes as we attempt each day to bear witness to the truth.

Sr. Maryann Mueller, CSSF
FAN Board Secretary

Published in: on January 24, 2017 at 9:42 am  Leave a Comment  

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