Off Nokhoog

June 13, 2023

A Reflection from the Interpath Traditions
by Thomas P, Bonacci, C.P.

Pope Francis, addressing the World Day of Peace in 2022, blessed us with a message of encouragement: “Let us light candles of hope in the midst of darkness. Amid dramatic situations, let us seize opportunities to bear witness to the Gospel of joy and to build a more friendly world.”

It is now fashionable to say we are a divided Country. Some would even say we are “hopelessly” divided. Every issue seems to be contentious and divisive. There is a sense of being overwhelmed by a perceived negativity. Many even feel powerless in the face of overwhelming problems. Let us examine this situation in a calm and peaceful way.

The fact that so many people feel overwhelmed indicates that many people would like things to be different. This is a good thing. It means people are aware and concerned about what is happening in the World. When people are upset about something, they care and want to do something to improve the situation. According to the statistics, most people in our Nation want full human rights for all people. We must not let a few powerful and vocal politicians be the voice or conscience of the Nation.

People admire and respect compromise between conflicting points of view. Extremism threatens the Nation and the World. Nonetheless, more and more people favor living in mutual respect and peace. Almost everywhere you look, diverse people are standing together, pursuing justice and well-being. Consider the overwhelming number of people who favor gun safety legislation. Once again, the legislators controlled by lobbyists are not the conscience of the Nation.

Many complain younger people are leaving traditional institutions. Some understand this to mean younger people are not concerned, secular, or simply selfish. But, upon deeper reflection, younger people are saying something many may not want to hear. It seems younger people are respectful of those the traditional institutions may have ignored, hurt, or discarded. This growing respect of younger people for all people is a lesson the traditional institutions might want to learn.

Finally, being negative, fearful, or reactive takes no effort. Real problems in our World require our willingness to stand up and commit to what is humane, decent, respectful, and just.

Blessing to you, Holy Community, for all the times you seized the problems of the day to make the World a better place. Thank you for having the courage to engage the difficulties of life with compassion, creativity, and love.