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Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi – What More Can We Do?

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Blessed are the peace makers.

Be a peace maker.

Friends,

In the wake of two more acts of violence this week that have left three young people dead in Lawrence, Kansas, and scores dead in Las Vegas, Nevada, what more can we do — how many more anguished cries will need to be lifted to the ear of God?

At moments like this, I re-embrace a prayer I know many of us hold dear:

A Prayer Attributed to St. Francis

Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

… Lord, make us instruments of your peace.

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We have peace building to do.

Considering what happened in Lawrence over the weekend — where many of our children attend the University of Kansas (including one of mine) — and given what happened in Las Vegas, I feel compelled to do more to create a peaceful community.

Violence is an ever present reality for most of the children and families we serve. Gun violence, in particular, is a common occurrence in the lives of those given into our care.

In a real way, a way I know many of our employees and most of those we serve can understand, I know the reality of violence and I know its lasting traumatic effects. Because of the example of Dr. King, Gandhi, Tutu, St. Francis and the life and ministry of Jesus, I also know the power of nonviolent action.

The mission of Saint Francis calls us to offer hope and healing. One way we can do that is by committing to end the use of violent language in our workplaces, homes, and communities. We were created for love and compassion and in choosing to intentionally use nonviolent language it reminds us of how we are meant to relate to one another; living and being in such a way as to affirm the best of humanity.

What do I mean? Here are some examples:

  • Please, don’t shoot the messenger.
  • Should we take aim at a problem or should we seek to solve a problem?
  • Can we use dot points instead of bullet points?
  • Do we have targets for our families to shoot for or can we set goals to achieve?
  • Will I take a stab at a situation or will I be the first to address one?
  • Ever hear someone called a deadbeat?
  •  … to be brutally honest, have you ever known someone who was gun shy?

The list is long. Language does matter.

In a time of hyper-charged political rhetoric; in a time of mass death and destruction, I ask that you join me in embracing our mission to offer hope and healing in a fundamental way. I ask that you join me in making Saint Francis and our communities more peaceful through the use of intentionally nonviolent language.

I know it is not everything. It is something more. While those in elected life will debate what should or should not be done concerning public policy, you and I can do something powerful – right where we live and work.

We can be the peace makers Christ spoke of; we can be the instruments of peace St. Francis calls us to be.

May God bless you, always –

Fr. Bobby

 


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