Why Non-Violence is a Priority
On Saturday, March 24, 2007, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto’s JPIC Office (Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation) hosted an afternoon with Fr. Bob Holmes CSB, an active member of the Christian Peacemaker Teams who also provides them with pastoral support. Fr.Bob is seen in the photo above with, left to right, Sisters Janet Fraser, Anne Lemire, Jean Leahy, and Theresa Rodgers. CPT serves various spots around the world, often where there is a conflict. The theme of the afternoon was “Shalom: Fullness of Life, God's Desire For All People.”
Fr. Bob led participants in an exploration of the Biblical roots of non-violence, encouraging them to disarm their own hearts and accept the challenge of living non-violently today in the midst of what increasingly seems to be a culture of violence.
“As Christians, our peacemaking flows out of the Gospel, in particular the Beatitudes. Jesus as foot washer is our principal inspiration,” he said. “This sets before us an upside-down Kingdom.” Fr. Bob explained that the members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams, when sent as witnesses for peace in volatile areas, try to reach out past the guns in front of them and touch the humanity behind that gun. The natural reaction of anger in the face of violence only increases that violence.
He explained that team members have also learned that they can't give in to fear by flight because that won't help in either the short or the long run. They work non-violently to reduce violence.
“Jesus’ teaching of love your enemy, taken to heart, is the hardest teaching of the Gospel,” he said. Fr. Bob’s talk underlined that this teaching is well worth learning in order to make even small progress towards Shalom, God's desire for all people.