“Now is the acceptable time! Now is the time of salvation!” (2Cor.6:2) This phrase from scripture vividly describes for us an instinctive feeling we have about the beginning of a new year. What better time to pull out those values we claim to profess, dust them off and renew our commitment to them. Maybe this is why for the past 50 years the Pope has chosen January 1 to proclaim a message of peace to the world, challenging all Christians to take seriously the Gospel call to nonviolence.
In his 2017 World Day of Peace message, Pope Francis does not mince words. He states that “to be true followers of Jesus today also includes embracing his teaching about nonviolence.” In the sermon on the mount (Matthew5) the Gospel clearly describes what it means to be a peacemaker. In this plan of action there is no room for violence of any kind whether that be angry words with a family member or military retaliation toward another country. In Pope Frances’ words: “When victims of violence are able to resist the temptation to retaliate, they become one of the most credible promoters of nonviolent peacemaking”.
We are challenged by Our Holy Father to “…dedicate ourselves prayerfully and actively to banishing violence from our hearts, words and deeds and to becoming nonviolent people and to build nonviolent communities that care for our common home.” Consider reading the Pope’s World Day of Peace message. It makes a powerful prayer for 2017.
In our community mission statement we have listed creative peacemaking as one of our core values. This reflects the cornerstone of our monastery building which is embalmed with the Latin word PAX-peace. We are active members of National Benedictines For Peace which works to coordinate peacemaking activities. In so many ways we are daily reminded of the exhortation given to us by St. Benedict in his rule of life: “Let peace be your quest and aim”.