Padre’s Corner: No peace unless we make it
By Padre Lt(N) Charles Irish,
The last few weeks and months have seen remarkable events. We have seen protests and blockades, division and recrimination, arguments between people who seem to live in different worlds because they cannot agree even on facts. Can there be a democracy – or even real freedom – without a common understanding of what constitutes reality? Meanwhile, in Europe, a new and appalling reality unfolds. There are stories of both brutality and courage as a nation struggles for its survival amid the ruins of the places where families once lived.
Is our society – at home and internationally – more fragile than we thought?
Ash Wednesday (2 March), for many Christians, began the season of Lent, which lasts until Easter. Those who observe this season remember their human fragility, and seek to “reset” their relationship with God and with one another. The ashes they received on their heads are a reminder that we will all become dust, and that only with love can anything hope to be lasting, and even everlasting.
What is love? It is not just feelings or preferences. It is not reducible to passion and possessiveness. It is not about getting something for ourselves. It is giving. It is willing the good of others.
There will be no peace unless we make it. Where can it start, except with each of us in our daily lives, and in the way we treat the people we meet?
We may wish and work for peace in the world, and wish for some civility and reason at home. We may feel injustice, want to change things, and wish to raise our voices. Sometimes, indeed, we must. But while we may think we have the truth, we may also think that the louder we proclaim it, the more right we are – and the more wrong others are. Truth without love can become just a weapon. Perhaps peace has to start with giving something. It starts with listening. It starts with respect. It starts with seeing the dignity and worth of the other person.
For how would the world be, if no one did that?