October 15, 2015
The daily News is more than bleak. Attempts at voter suppression in the United States, increasing racial tensions, continuing turmoil in the Middle East, stabbings in the streets of Jerusalem, Russian military action in Syria, Isil’s growing influence in Gaza, immigration debates, and the refugee crisis in Europe all cause an overwhelming sense of concern if not despair. Yet, we hope. Interfaith Spirituality and Practice is a serious attempt to confront the negatives that afflict our society, World, and selves. We interpret that negativity seeking a sense of direction in the seeming chaos and instability. Consider:
First, the visit of Pope Francis to the Americas in general and the United States in particular caused a surge in our willingness and ability to hope. As people across the spectrum of society reached out to embrace Francis, they revealed their longing for peace born of justice. Suddenly we felt the depth and joy of what it means to be a civil society based on mutuality, respect, and the care of the common good.
Second, as the Parliament for the World Religions gathers in Salt Lake City, Utah, (October 15 – 19, 2015), over four thousand women, men, and children from all over the World celebrate the splendor of what it means to seek the Divine and discern the humane. Now more than ever, the ethic of compassion is needed. This moral standard established by the Golden Rule is not a lofty idea but an ethical imperative for the present moment.
Finally, there is you and I. Each and every one of us must rededicate ourselves to the pursuit of what is right and just regardless of the personal cost. We must become the peace we seek. Let disappointment become passion from which vision emerges. Do not be afraid of your inner voice and wisdom. Have the courage to practice peace in the conflicts and tensions of daily life. Be no one’s victim. Rather, let your inner light shine in the oftentimes darkness of life.
We remember the courage, forgiveness, and commitment of so many who have been subjected to untold violence. As leaders like Pope Francis risk their lives in the pursuit of peace, as people all over the World seek the justice and understanding that makes peace possible, may we rise in this moment to hear the cry of the poor, forgotten, hated, feared, and rejected. May we hear the cry of the Earth. As Pope Francis encourages:
Let us not fall into humiliating indifference or a monotonous routine that prevents us from discovering what is new! Let us ward off destructive cynicism! Let us open our eyes and see the misery of the world, the wounds of our brothers and sisters who are denied their dignity, and let us recognize that we are compelled to heed their cry for help! May we reach out to them and support them so they can feel the warmth of our presence, our friendship, and our fraternity! May their cry become our own, and together may we break down the barriers of indifference that too often reign supreme and mask our hypocrisy and egoism!
Misericordiae Vultus #15
Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P.
For the Interfaith Peace Project