Lent Blog

Thank you to all the Pax Christi members who shared their thoughts and experiences with us in this blog. How good it is to be part of a movement for peace together!

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Pax Christi member, Carol Burns, shares her recent experience and thoughts on nonviolent resistance:

There are many different ways to stand for justice and to support those denied their human rights. Solidarity and presence can be powerful ways of nonviolent support.
A Women in Black group has recently started in Leeds organised by women of faith and no faith. Women in Black vigils are part of a worldwide network started by women in Jerusalem to protest against the occupation of the West Bank. The vigil is twice a month and I have been aiming to attend at least once a month.
We stand in silence for an hour wearing black and holding a banner which says End the Occupation, with the colours of the Palestinian flag in the background. Some members of the group give out leaflets and encourage dialogue with passers by.

  • It’s non-religious but can feel very prayerful standing with this silent group of mainly older women.
  • Its symbolic -we can’t be in Palestine, but we can be is solidarity with their suffering and highlight the injustice.
  • It’s a consistent presence and brings the people of the West Bank into people’s minds.
  • It’s a stand against hopelessness when some people say to us ‘oh nothing will change-in the Middle East they are always fighting’.
  • It’s a challenge to be patient, not to get angry, to give the other point of view, – to listen to those who engage with us.

Some people are genuinely enquiring. I have had long conversations with a young Christian man trying to understand the conflicting claims to the land of Palestine  and an even younger British Jew who seemed to know nothing about the plight of the Palestinians.

Every contact leaves a trace.

It’s good to be with others and know that others care as much as you. Sometimes it’s cold and windy, sometimes an hour seems endless, and most times my knee hurts.
Sometimes it’s hard to find the time, often various caring responsibilities get in the way. It’s a joy when people going by from many different ethnic origins give us the thumbs up or put their hand on their heart as they go past.

This is nonviolent resistance, not terribly glamorous, low key but so important. We all can make a contribution but there should be  no judgement, no guilty feelings, just reflecting on what our role is and finding out what’s right for us.

Jesuit John Dear in his book ‘Put Down Your Sword’, Answering the Gospel Call to Creative Non Violence says that biblical scholars are looking at a revised translation of the Beatitudes: Blessed are …….seems passive. Better the more active phrase Walk on, Walk forth – I hope we can all walk forth this Lent in active peacemaking through nonviolence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pax Christi Executive Committee member, Paul McGowan, writes another creative piece for us to think about. Paul felt the King James Bible translation suited his imaginative reflection, so that is included first:

And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box and poured it on his head. And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her. And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? She hath wrought a good work on me. For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good; but me ye have not always. She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying. Verily I say unto you: Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.                                                                          Mark 14: 3-9

The woman reflects on her actions, remembering some of the words of Psalm 102.

I have had what they call ‘a good life’, I suppose. Comfortable. Much to give thanks for, many blessings, ‘good things’, as the Psalm says. I like nice things, nice clothes, nice furniture. I try not to forget this. I brought lots of them to mind, as many as I could, for support, on the road to Bethany. It’s a short walk from Jerusalem, just a few miles and I know it well. We have – had, I ought to say now – a lovely house in Jerusalem, which my son can now have all to himself and his family. He doesn’t know this yet. He thinks I have just gone to stay with our friends in Bethany for a few days, until the festival is over and the crowds have gone. ‘It is he who forgives all your guilt’, says the Psalm. I hope so. I do feel very guilty.

My husband, another of my ‘blessings’ – redeem his life from the grave, Lord. He built up a thriving business in the city. Trading, importing. So many beautiful and strange things. Pearls from the Gulf, precious stones, spices and perfumes from somewhere called India, far away in the east. The other side of the world, some say, as far as it is possible to go. He was a real connoisseur. A great eye. Hence, of course, he chose me….

My children, all grown up now and married. And then the ‘children’s children’, as it says. What lies ahead for them? Will our covenant with the Lord still hold for them? Will they continue to ‘keep his will in their mind’? Have I gone and spoilt it all for them? Not good when your elderly mother runs off. Could have repercussions for them all back in the city.

It was late in the afternoon when I reached Bethany. It’s true, I do know people here. That, at least, was no lie. I don’t know what they will think when I turn up on their doorstep, though. ‘He knows of what we are made’. A woman on her own in a place that is not her own. How weak I suddenly felt, how insignificant, like ‘the flowers of the field’. Should I go to our friends’ house first, in case someone tells them they’ve seen me? No, better to get it over with. I might lose courage if they start asking me questions. Better go on to where he usually stays when he comes to Bethany.

The house was full of people. All men, of course. Always men, filling the house with their odours. Most of them looked like outdoor types. Some of them were fishermen, I had heard, from Galilee. You can tell by their accents anyway. No hiding that. I checked again, as if I needed to, that the flask was still there. And the other items, and the money.

A week ago, they had arrived in the city and caused a great commotion in the streets, I can tell you. Nothing like this had been seen before, not within living memory at least. People were shouting that the Messiah had come. This is not something you can just ignore and hope it will go away. The harder question is: what do you think about it? Is it true? There would be signs, we have been told. The signs were there, some said. Therefore, it was true. But then, you think, well, why now? why here? why us?

The bottle was warm in my hand. Smooth as silk, but tiny. This was not just one of those ‘good things’ I mentioned. This was the best! It was always kept in a very secure place – not in the house, and certainly not in the shop. There are not many who can afford it, so I knew it wouldn’t be missed straight away. ‘Do not treat us according to our sins’, it says. Stealing is a sin, against the ways of the Lord. Strictly speaking, all the goods now belong to my son, bequeathed to him by his father. ‘The Lord has pity on those who fear him.’ What his father would have thought about his plotting I don’t know. Maybe he would have intervened and warned him not to get involved. Anyway, I’ve taken a couple more pieces, to tide me over.

In the last few days, my son has been going out at all hours; business meetings, he says. I don’t think so. Not normal business anyway. People coming to the house too. I recognised some of them. Important people in the city. Members of the Council. I was in the kitchen, but I overheard them. At least, I heard enough to make up my mind. They should have paid me more attention. Stupid old woman, they probably thought. She won’t understand, even if she hears everything. My son does business differently to his father. He goes for a quick profit rather than looking for quality goods. Knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. Also, he deals with the Romans. Construction, foodstuffs. His friends flatter him on the information he gets out of the deals, but behind his back they despise him.

The house is just here on the left. Too late to turn back now. Don’t lose your nerve. Go in. Push your way through before they notice. Take out the bottle and do it! There was a brief silence, followed by murmurs of appreciation as the perfume floated on the air. Jesus was surprised, of course he was, but he was always in control of the situation. I had noticed that when I had seen him teaching in the Temple. Even when he was angry he was still in control. I had the chance to tell him, but I couldn’t. What difference would it have made? They would never have believed me. They never believe what women say. He was doomed anyway. A marked man. The plans were already in place, and my son was in the thick of them.

Some say the perfume was to honour the Messiah; some say it was more like the preparation of a corpse. It was both, I suppose, given what I knew and given what I wanted to believe.

Well, then pandemonium broke out! What a waste! A whole year’s wages! Who does this woman think she is! I slipped out while they were still shouting. I could hear them half-way down the street. I can still hear them in my head. But I’m glad I did it, for what it’s worth. Jesus said ‘She has done what she could’, but this was not the whole truth. I knew much more. It was a feeble effort, compared to what awaited him.

That is why I cannot go back. Not the theft or the deceit. If we have killed another prophet, maybe even the Messiah, what have we got left? So for me the old life is finished. But I do not know what alternatives there are.

I say I cannot go back, but what do I say to my friends, whose house is just down the next street? I need to calm myself. They will see something’s not right. Get the story straight in my head. Stick it out a few days then say I’d better be getting back to Jerusalem. Invite them to come over in a week or two, just as normal. To give me a few days’ start. And then I need to go somewhere they won’t look, somewhere I’ve never been before. Galilee, perhaps.

Photo by james ballard on Unsplash

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Pax Christi member, Fr Gerry McFlynn shares what nonviolence is for him:

Non-violence was never just an academic discipline for me.   The first five years of my priestly ministry were spent in a parish in north Belfast in the early 1970’s – which had its own sad tally of horrific bombings and murders, leaving me with lasting memories.   Also, I often discussed with Republican /IRA prisoners in Long Kesh the validity of the so-called “armed struggle” and whether there might be a better way of effecting political change.   I was aware of the theory and practice of non-violence from reading Thomas Merton, Dorothy Day and the civil disobedience of the Berrigan brothers.  This, and the death and destruction I witnessed, led me to believe that the way of non-violence was the only way.

However, with the passage of time I came to understand non-violence as being much more than a tool for effecting social and political change –  it’s really a way of living.  The roots of the world’s ills lie not so much in a particular system of politics or economics, as in the hearts and minds of ordinary men and women.  In other words, it is a spiritual problem and can only be dealt with by spiritual means.   A non-violent lifestyle is the best witness one can give to the Gospel values of love and peace.  What we are being asked to do as followers of Jesus, is to live new lives and live them now, to make the future different by living the present differently.

If you are enjoying the blog and want to share your thoughts, consider joining our NonvioLent Facebook group where you will be able to post your own ideas.

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Pax Christi Vice-President, Pat Gaffney, shares some thoughts:

Imagining a time beyond Coronavirus
Yesterday I went for a lone walk in my local park.  Living alone as I do, this is one of the luxuries still open to me.  I try to ‘keep my distance’, although it feels very alien to me,  responsible behaviour is essential at this time.  Imagine my horror then when a man I passed hissed at me, “Get out of the way. Keep away.”  I jumped away, mumbled an apology and walked on, rather shaken. While I can understand the reaction and the vulnerability that many feel, it did make me wonder if we might all experience a little more of this as fear, and the scapegoating that goes with it, do their work in dividing communities.  I know I will have to work at not being drawn into that particular virus if I want to maintain my humanity over the months ahead.

This morning I experienced the joy of SKYPE, bringing Pax Christi friends and colleagues from Japan, France, USA, Belgium and Kenya into my home.  How were we to move forward with our work on the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative?  Do we put it all on hold?  Everyone is so overwhelmed and energy is elsewhere?  Or is the current crisis offering us opportunities to think about active nonviolence and loving relationships. I was drawn by a question raised by Bishop Marc, from France, our international co-president,
“Does Pax Christi and the CNI have something to contribute so that at the end of the crisis the world doesn’t just start over like before”?

75 years ago our founders were coming out of a crisis but they had a vision of what they wanted to move towards – Pax Christi – the Peace of Christ – drawing on the Gospel and the teaching of the church, to build a movement of peacemakers, a community of people healing the broken and fractured world of that time and place. What can we learn from those 75 years and the people who have taught us, and continue to teach us, about loving self-sacrifice, nonviolence, interconnectedness, equality and justice? How might our current situation prompt us to analyse what is happening economically, psychologically, politically, spiritually, to help us to envisage a new order, beyond Coronavirus, so that we don‘t just carry on as before.

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Pax Christi Executive member, Henrietta Cullinan shares her reflection on last Sunday’s gospel and her updated efforts for the strange Lent we find ourselves in:

Curing the blind 
Faced with the irony of alcohol and chocolate being the only items still plentiful in the supermarket, I decided to return to my original Lent project which was to follow and retweet the news of women political prisoners: Nazanin Zaghari – Ratcliffe in Iran, Loujain al-Hathloul and seven other women’s rights activists in Saudi Arabia, and Chelsea Manning in the US. I include Shamima Begum in the list. A young Londoner who has been made stateless by the UK government, she is as much a political prisoner as any other.
These have been a busy few weeks. Chelsea Manning has been released. Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been released for two weeks and hears today whether she will be among 10,000 to be pardoned for Nawruz.
Of Shamima Begum there’s no news. Her story saddens me more than I can say. She is my neighbour, someone born, brought up, educated in the next door London borough, a mother whose three children have all died. No one knows what her crime is. The stripping of her UK citizenship turns out to be infectious. Type her name into Twitter and a regular feed of vitriol and abuse comes tumbling out. Using her name as a hash tag right now are Indian bloggers campaigning against the return of ISIS brides from Afghanistan, ‘the UK did it to Shamima Begum, why can’t we?’ Braying commentators around the world have turned her into a sort of covered up monster, pouncing on her few chilling statements.

In the Gospel for this Sunday, Jesus cures a blind man with spit and clay from the ground, rubbing them on his eyes. Let’s hope we can see the injustice of keeping Shamima Begum prisoner, away from her family and stripped of her rights, unable to defend herself,.
The women on my list have done us a great service. Manning alerted us to US and UK war crimes, Zaghari – Ratcliffe to failed UK foreign policy towards Iran. Loujain al-Hathoul and others successfully fought with their own freedom for Saudi women’s rights. But Shamima Begum, cast out, alerts us to our own brokenness. The first part of our journey towards nonviolence is to acknowledge with open eyes our own capacity for cruelty and heartlessness, and our own failure of community.

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Pax Christi member Kate Monkhouse shares what nonviolence means for her. Although recorded last year, Kate’s deeply thoughtful words resonate particularly strongly in our current circumstances.

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When Fr Rob Esdaile provided this reflection for the 4th Sunday of Lent, we didn’t know there would be no public Mass at the weekend!

Blindness & Sight

Blindness and vision are key categories in most faith traditions – and it is easy to reduce these alternatives to the level of mere spiritual jargon with few practical consequences. Certainly, by the time the ninth chapter of John’s Gospel had reached the form in which we hear it on the Fourth Sunday of Lent, the fact that an actual man who was born blind had been physically cured had slipped entirely into the background. The narrative had become an extended metaphor.

By this stage, too, John’s community had settled into an unbending antagonism towards the fellow Jews who had ‘put them out of the synagogue’ (Jn 9.22; 16.2), just as, in the Gospel story, ‘the Pharisees’ threaten to expel the man’s parents. By this stage, the story is scarcely told in a peace-loving way. Rather, it culminates in an angry denunciation of the author’s opponents: “Blind? If you were, you would not be guilty, but since you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.”

The Gradual Recognition Of Violence – & Its Cover-Up

Nonetheless, whatever the mood-music in Jn 9.1-41, the question of blindness and sight won’t go away. Moreover, the author’s harsh judgement can help us to think about peace and violence today and how attitudes have already changed in recent decades. Within my life-time people would have denied that putting a noose around someone’s neck and letting them drop through a trap-door (just far enough to break their neck without – usually – actually pulling their head off) was an act of intolerable violence by the State.

When I was at secondary school the fact that, in front of my whole class, a teacher hit a teenager on the backside with a sports shoe so hard that the boy collided with the back wall of the classroom and collapsed sobbing on the floor was not recognised as the career-ending criminal act of violence that it was. Less brutal caning on the hand was a banal daily possibility – albeit one I dodged successfully for seven years – and seen as a bit of a joke, even by its victims.

To the Church’s great shame, before the Boston Globe’s ‘Spotlight’ team broke their story, the default position in the face of clergy abuse of minors was denial; just as in wider society, before the ‘Me Too’ movement, women were expected to suffer in silence in the face of predatory males.

Perhaps the key question we face today (as in every generation, in fact) is what violence do we not yet recognise as violence? What do we shrug off as ‘just the way the world is’; as natural – or even as meritorious? The hardest heart is one which has normalised violence; which has lost the capacity to be shocked by it; which has forgotten that war – even when we can see no alternative – is always a terrible spiritual failure, a response to conflict and injustice which is unworthy of human beings and cannot, by its very nature, bring healing.

Elective Blindness – Choosing Not To See

It is surprising how resistant we are – especially we people of faith – to naming the violence that is hidden in plain sight. People who uphold Just War Theory, with its careful casuistry covering descent into warfare (Jus ad bellum) and behaviour during conflict (Jus in bello), seem typically to underestimate the harm that will quite predictably be done in achieving the ‘good outcome’ desired. Non-combatant immunity is upheld in theory (and videos of ‘smart-bombs’ – rarely more than a tiny percentage of the ordnance expended even by the most high-tech States – are used to mask the reality of indiscriminate killing of the innocent). However, the streams of refugees spreading across every continent tell another story and show that the exemption of civilians is always a chimera in contemporary armed struggle.

Extra-judicial killing (typically by drone, sometimes operated from the safety of a control room in the United Kingdom) is accepted today with scarcely a murmur, even though it rides rough-shod over the judicial principle of the presumed innocence of the accused until they have had their day in court. Might, it seems, is its own justification when you belong to a sufficiently powerful and brazen Nation State.

Plenty of Christians are also willing to uphold the ‘rightness’ of nuclear deterrence while claiming to uphold the commandment, ‘Thou shalt not kill’. Likewise, Nuclear Weapon States (including the UK) profess their commitment to Non-Proliferation while continuing to develop ever more reliable ways of delivering their ‘unusable’ weapons to civilian targets (the weapons being of such high yield that civilians will inevitably be the primary victims). The ever-clearer condemnations by the Pope and by bishops around the world of the very act of holding such Weapons of Mass Destruction appear to have little effect on many Church members.

It would seem that national ideologies focused on ‘saluting the flag’ and serving ‘my country, right or wrong’ have blinded us to the realities of the world in which we live, to the consequences of our own actions and – perhaps most importantly – to the price paid by the poorest and most vulnerable for our rhetoric, proclaiming peace where there is none (Jer 6.14). Blind? If we were, we would not be guilty. But since we say, ‘We see,’ our guilt remains,

How to Spend the Military Budget

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‘Nonviolence is not a garment to be put on and off at will. Its seat is in the heart and it must be an inseparable part of our being’.  Mahatma Gandhi

Here is Aisling, who delivers Peace Education for us:

For the Third Sunday of Lent, Pax Christi Executive Committee member Paul McGowan offers us this creative reflection, with acknowledgements to Amy-Jill Levine, William Shakespeare and the Jerusalem Bible John 4:5-42

‘From ancient grudge…’      (Prologue, Romeo and Juliet)

The theatre is obvious, although there was no-one to witness today’s scene from John’s Gospel, no audience to watch the playing out and anticipate the end, but the setting is rich in historical references.

The disciples have been shuffled off into the village. They, and the Samaritan villagers (‘OK, lady, we’ll take it from here’), will be brought back when the time is right. Is it an imagined encounter? If it is, It still crackles with intensity. How could this story have been preserved? It ought never to have happened, even in the imagination. Jews do not associate with Samaritans, we have been told, especially Jewish men and Samaritan women, and the message is repeated in today’s text. Yet this is the longest conversation between Jesus and another person included in any of the Gospels. Should we just see it as an exercise in ‘this is what Jesus would have done in the circumstances’?

Jesus and companions are on a journey, taking the shortest route back to Galilee. This shortcut, presumably a well-used path, on this occasion turns out to contain a significant detour, and holds them up for two days, two days they could have spent at home. By the time they get there, things have changed fundamentally for them all, or so one would think. Now they have to explain to anyone who asks about their journey what they thought they were doing mixing with a bunch of Samaritans and sharing their food.

‘…and the continuance of their parents’ rage’

But the well-established narrative of implacable hostility between the two communities does not hold water, even in the words of the few times Jewish-Samaritan relations crop up in the Gospels. There is mutual suspicion, but no outright violence, except for Jesus’s disciples’ readiness, on another occasion, to use divine power to wipe out the Samaritans who refused to let them enter their village. The Samaritan of Luke’s famous parable, by contrast, is just as much at home on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho as the other travellers. His money seems to be as good as anyone else’s. He has plans to make further journeys on that road. None of the original hearers of that story are recorded as objecting to its lack of verisimilitude. In the meeting at the well, no one objects to being sent into the village to buy food – food which we are usually told Jews could not have eaten, for religious reasons. The Samaritan woman is not uneasy at finding herself alone with a man from another, hostile, religious tradition, or in debating with him as an equal. She lives in expectation of the Messiah. They engage in what the diplomats call a ‘full and frank’ exchange of views.

‘Do with their death bury their parents’ strife’

It turns out, then, that our longstanding enemies and adversaries may not be what we thought them to be. It seems we may start the process of winning them over simply by asking for a drink of water. The well and the village are the two poles between which the action develops. The Jesus group arrives at the well; the disciples go to the village; Jesus sits down at the well; the woman leaves the village and comes to the well; the disciples come back to the well; the woman goes back to the village; the villagers and the woman arrive at the well; everybody goes into the village.

Jesus’s pondering of the rift between the two communities may arise from an incident recorded only in the Second Book of Chronicles (350 BCE). Tucked away in Chapter 28 is a story from the disastrous reign of King Ahaz of Judah (730 BCE) in which thousands of his subjects were taken prisoner after a  war with some of the northern tribes. At the instigation of a prophet named Obed, the captives were cared for and returned to their homes, rather than treated as the spoils of war that they were. The details will immediately ring bells:

‘A prophet of the Lord was there named Obed, who went out to meet the troops returning to Samaria and said: the Lord, the God of your ancestors, was angry with Judah and so he delivered them into your power. But you have slaughtered with such fury as reaches to heaven. […] Now listen to me: release the prisoners you have taken of your brothers, for the fierce anger of the Lord hangs over you. […] So in the presence of the officials and the whole assembly the army gave up the captives and the booty. Men expressly nominated for the purpose saw to the relief of the prisoners. From the booty they clothed all those of them that were naked; they gave them clothing and sandals and provided them with food, drink and shelter. They mounted all those who were infirm on donkeys and took them back to their kinsmen at Jericho, the city of palm trees. Then they returned to Samaria.’

This is the memory and the future perspective which Jesus brings to bear on the question of Jewish-Samaritan relations. The implications can all be read off from the episode above. We have the same God; we are brothers (and sisters); we should not tear each other to pieces; we should heal each other’s wounds; we should live together in peace. And in addition, from the woman’s testimony: we have the same expectation of fulfilment.

We do not know by what means Jesus persuaded the villagers to accept him as ‘the saviour of the world’, and what happened day by day, but during those two days spent together – or three, if we count the day of the first meeting –  it seems entirely plausible that someone, at some point, would have reminded the gathering of the story from 2 Chronicles.

The overarching message is about how quickly some divisions can be overcome, dissolved as if they had never been. Not everything happens like that, of course, and there are differences that cannot be avoided. But even stubborn and persistent differences overcome, look inexplicable in hindsight.

Photo from Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem

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On this Second Sunday of Lent, Pax Christi member Clare Shanley shares her thoughts on nonviolence. Clare was a participant in Pax Christi International’s Young Peace Journalist project a few years ago.

Clare says: According to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries, the noun ‘violence’ has two definitions. One relates to “violent behaviour that is intended to hurt or kill someone’ and the second relates to a “physical or emotional force and energy”. Acts of violence and violence occurring in the world is played out daily on the news and most of this relates to violent behaviour. But how often do we consider the emotional force of violence and how much of a role this plays in our lives?

Many of us dream of a world where violence is not used to solve problems, are advocates for non-violence and campaign towards non-violent alternatives. But often it is the less explicit presence of violence in our daily lives that has more of a negative influence within the world. So how can personally highlighting these patterns change the way we interact with ourselves and others?

In the book of Proverbs it states “As someone thinks within himself, so he is” (23:7). Our thoughts create our emotions and dictate how we interact with the world. We are taught to lead with love but many of us find it most difficult to turn the love inwards, to not have negative self-talk or be ruled by fear. Choosing love is choosing a non-violent life. When we choose love, we are choosing God.

The concern about world-wide issues of violence and the task to make a difference often seems too big to take on. Maybe the first step is to lead with love – if we can change our own reality and positively influence the ones around us, we are in turn advocating for a non-violent world.

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Here’s Pax Christi member, Carol, telling us about the value and power of nonviolence. We used a quote from Carol on the NonvioLent postcard.

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Everyone is called to live their lives right now in the kingdom of God, to practice now as if they were already in the fullness of the presence of the God of peace. As we do, we will reject every form of violence, from war and executions to racism and sexism to nuclear weapons and corporate greed to destructive behaviour to the creatures and Mother Earth.”
John Dear, “They Will Inherit the Earth: Making Peace and Practising Nonviolence in a Time of Climate Change

Consider joining our dedicated NonvioLent Facebook group to share your thoughts on trying to live a nonviolent way of life, and what nonviolence means for Christians.

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Pax Christi Executive Committee member, Joan Sharples, got our Lent blog started with an example from her daily life and a clip of her putting nonviolence into her own words.

Have you ever reflected on what nonviolence really looks like for you? Could you put your thoughts into words, as Joan does in the video? Pope Francis says, ‘To be true followers of Jesus today also includes embracing his teaching about nonviolence’. Pope Francis, “Nonviolence: A Style of Politics for Peace, 2017. We need to be able to explain gospel nonviolence to people using ordinary words and examples.

Joan

The train was very full. No room in the quiet coach; I wandered through the train and eventually found a seat and settled down to my book, but my reading was disturbed by the music of someone somewhere behind me: its insistent bass making concentration difficult. I resigned myself to a irritating journey.

A short time later, the woman sitting across the aisle began to rummage in her bag. She produced some earphones and walked past me to where the music was coming from. ‘Would you like to borrow these’, she said, ‘I’m finding your music disturbing’. Her offer was declined, the volume turned down and she resumed her place.

I sat musing on her creative and respectful response to the music lover: another step on my own journey to nonviolence.

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