September 13

Reflection

We need to work together to strengthen our innate sense of decency, learn to confront one another without hatred or bitterness, and join together to foster a standard of mutual compassion and respect. It seems as if each day we are bombarded by hostility and aversion at all levels. From national rhetoric to road rage our sense of serenity is disrupted by discord and violence in speech and action. This is what we breathe in daily and it is disturbing. It divides person from person, race from race, class from class. It leads nations to put their trust in weapons of war, provides a basis to lay waste the earth, and enables an indifference to the plight of those who are victims. But, we are better than this. Our basic care for one another is demonstrated in natural catastrophes in which strangers risk their lives to save strangers, and those at a distance rush to send money and supplies. We need to help one another not only when disaster strikes but in our daily interactions and stop ourselves from being influenced by this mindless national posturing.

Prayer

O God who commanded us to love our enemies lead them and us from prejudice to truth, deliver them and us from hatred, cruelty, and revenge, and enable us all to stand reconciled before you.

Action

Do not engage in angry speech. Do not accept violent speech or action at whatever level it occurs and in any situation. Try to build bridges of reconciliation where you can.

Suggested Reading

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of God; for God makes the sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.  For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?  Be perfect, therefore, as God is perfect.
Matthew 5:43-48

The true strength of the Christian is the power of truth and love, which leads to the renunciation of all violence. Faith and violence are incompatible.
Pope Francis

Social justice cannot be attained by violence. Violence kills what it intends to create.
Pope John Paul II

Revenge and retaliation always perpetuate the cycle of anger, fear and violence.
Coretta Scott King

Intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit.
Mahatma Gandhi 

Without justice and love, peace will always be the great illusion.
Archbishop Hélder Pessoa Câmara 

So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, ‘The good outnumber you, and we always will.’
Patton Oswalt

The world is too dangerous for anything but truth and too small for anything but love.
William Sloane Coffin 

Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

An act of love, a voluntary taking on oneself of some of the pain of the world, increases the courage and love and hope of all.
Dorothy Day

Violence is a tool of the ignorant.
Flip Wilson

We have observed that, in society and the world in which we live, selfishness has increased more than love for others, and that men of good will must work, each with his own strengths and expertise, to ensure that love for others increases until it is equal and possibly exceeds love for oneself.
Pope Francis

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