Today is the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Second World War started by Hitler’s invasion of Poland and followed quickly by Stalin’s invasion from the East. It is also a hundred years since the beginning of the First World War I which the civilized nations of Europe joined in a futile and barbaric self-mutilation. Many historians see these two wars as essentially the same war with a twenty year break to recover strength and hatred before continuing.
100 years ago, on June 28, 1914, an Orthodox Christian man, Gavrilo Princip, shot and killed a Catholic Christian man, Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo. This lit the fuse that the arms dealers, called ‘the merchants of death’ after the war, had been trying to light for some time. A feverish frenzy of mutual homicidal violence and destruction, on a scale never before seen, began to engulf Europe. World War I had commenced.
Approximately 65 million combatants fought in Word War I, each of whom was the precious and beloved child of some mother or father, each of whom was deceived by the rulers of their states and their Churches to believe that what they were embarking upon was a holy war for God and country. Bishops, priests and minister on all sides blessed, in the name of Jesus, their choice to do their manly duty in spreading the heinous conflagration of World War I.
Over the past two and one half centuries our killing technology has expanded at an alarming rate, but sadly our theologies and morals have failed to keep pace. Our latest development is our capacity to kill more people from an increasing distance with unmanned armed drones.
Christians have typically lagged behind in condemning the targeted killing of innocent men, women and children. And so I ask you – is it wrong to kill by remote control? If you are not cringing at this prospect, then bear with me as I lay down some recent facts. Jesus was the victim of targeted torture and killing. Theologians such as John Howard Yoder, Walter Wink, and Rene Girard have shown the targeted killing of Jesus on the cross unmasked the unjust violence of the state and throughout the last two millennia the USA has targeted and supported assassination of many so-called puppet states we killed blindly in the name of American justice. You are either with us or against us. The US military complex budget is more than 90% of the next 20 countries put together. Each drone can cost up to 10 to 20 million and just recently, the Pentagon released figures for drone buildup with the USA having more than all industrial countries together.
Each morning and evening where we live we hear the call of the black swans as they fly overhead. They rest at night a little way up the creek nearby. But for awhile they disappeared. Their going and coming back correlated with a period of time when work was being done on our little bridge. It seems that the noise and activity of that work had pushed them out of their usual place; their home.
I love to hear the call of those swans. They coincide with morning and evening meditation. They are a prayer in themselves. And their call reminds me that we human beings are not the only creatures who have the right to belong in a particular place; we are not the only creatures who need a home.
From Sarah Litchfield, on Fogo in Cape Verde, Africa
(Sarah was a member of several meditation groups in the UK, and spent time in Sydney helping prepare for the 2001 John Main Seminar, where she is fondly remembered for her great contribution to preparing for the event. The following updates her connection with the world wide WCCM community since she felt inspired to go to live at Cape Verde during English winters, more specifically an island called Fogo (Fire) which basically is a volcano in the Atlantic Ocean.)
She says “It is really only the last two years I have been really actively engaged with the Meditatio aspect of the WCCM. When the opportunity came up to be involved in the Meditation for Schools initiative I was lucky enough to be in Roz Stockely's Wimborne group in Dorset and attend a day given at a local school by Janet Robbins which totally inspired me to learn as much as possible from them and bring it out to Cape Verde( and she has since begun meditation in several schools)
Peace, Justice and Sustainability... Background & Articles
Send submissions to "Peace and Justice" Webpage Editor: Claudia Morgan
We all know that the daily practice of meditation, if undertaken with faith and love, increases our awareness of Jesus' indwelling presence and makes it possible for us to experience that peace that He promised to leave with us. Many entries on this website are dedicated to strengthening our personal meditation practice and deepening that inner peace that is a wonderful fruit of meditation.
Jack Murta grew up on a family farm, near a village of 50 people in Manitoba, Canada, attended a small rural school, received a University Diploma in Agriculture, spent 16 years in the business community, and then served 18 years as an elected member of the Canadian Parliament, including two Cabinet Minister Posts.
ETTY HILLESUM, MEDITATOR AND PEACE ACTIVIST (1914-1943)
by Paul Harris
“God is not accountable to us, but we are to Him. I know what may lie in wait for us....and yet I find life beautiful and meaningful.”
Etty Hillesum who wrote these words in Amsterdam in 1942 was a young 28 year old Jewish woman and gifted writer who decided to write a diary during the German occupation of Holland. The diary portrays an inner transformation of an independent woman preoccupied with worldly pleasures and sensuality, into a person of great spiritual depth and wisdom. The diaries chronicle Etty’s inner growth and have become an authentic classic of twentieth century spirituality.
From Pax Christi USA’s Global Restoration Committee
“I don’t want to flee, nor do I want to abandon the battle of these farmers who live without any protection in the forest. They have the sacrosanct right to aspire to a better life on land where they can live and work with dignity while respecting the environment.” ~Sr. Dorothy Stang, SNDdeN
Reprinted from the January. 15, 2013 National Catholic Reporter: "On The Road to Peace"
by John Dear
Recently, I came across a new collection of prayers by Martin Luther King Jr., Thou, Dear God: Prayers that Open Hearts and Spirits (edited by Lewis V. Baldwin, Beacon Press, 2012). For his birthday today, I thought I'd offer here a sample of those prayers to encourage us on our journey so we might be, like Dr. King, people of prayer, peace, justice and nonviolence.