Community of Peace
Community of Peace
Rome. Each year on January 1, the Church celebrates the World Day of Peace, a day first desired by Paul VI in 1968. The Pope’s words resound still today, “Peace cannot be based on the false rhetoric of words, acceptable because they correspond with deep and genuine human aspirations, but ones that can also serve and unfortunately have sometimes served, to hide the void of a true spirit and of peaceful intentions that are real, and may actually hide feelings and actions of injustice or of particular interests”.
The memory of Paul VI brings us back to the Vatican on June 8, 2014, when Pope Francis and the two presidents of Palestine and Israel came together to invoke the end of conflicts in the Middle East. “It takes much more courage to make peace than to make war”. This courage for peace is lacking and wars continue to reap innocent victims and persecutions in many nations of the world.
The Message of Pope Francis for the XLVIII World Day of Peace on the theme, “No longer slaves but brothers”, does not only refer to the foundation of peace but of its concrete realization in interpersonal relationships. It is an invitation to transform social relationships from a rapport of dependence-slavery and of the negation of the humanity of others, to a rapport of fraternity lived between brothers and sisters because we are all children of the same Father.
Slavery is a terrible open wound on the body of contemporary society. In order to overcome it efficaciously, there must first of all be the acknowledgement of the inviolable dignity of every human person. We must hold fast the reference to fraternity that demands the overcoming of inequality on the basis of which one human may make another human a slave, and the consequent effort of closeness and of gratuity for a journey of liberation and inclusion for everyone.
There must be a ‘common effort’ that involves everyone, both at the local level of families, schools, parishes, and at the global level of State Institutions and civil society to overcome the wound of slavery. Being children of God makes human beings brothers and sisters with equal dignity. Slavery fatally wounds this universal fraternity and therefore, peace. In fact, peace exists when human beings recognize others as brothers and sisters with equal dignity.
The Pope defines slavery as ‘damaged humanity’ and ‘broken fraternity, and the rejection of communion’. He reminds us that the family, “In a world often marked by egoism, the large family is a school of solidarity and of sharing. These attitudes benefit all of society”. Insofar as it is the first school of life and the first place of fraternity, it must not become a “place where life is betrayed, despised, negated, manipulated, and sold as though we can dispose of this gift according to our own interests”.
Mother Yvonne Reungoat, Mother General of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, affirms, “As an educational Institute, we re-affirm our choice for education. Gratuitous violence against innocent babies and the tragedies of so many grieving families, reinforce our effort in the field of education. It is here that the foundation is laid for a culture of life, for the conviviality of differences, for respect for the rights and duties of every person, of every citizen. It is here we learn to overcome conflicts and cultivate sentiments of solidarity and of peace. Together, as educating communities, we want to commit ourselves with even greater conviction to formation to the indissoluble values of life, of the family, called to guard from birth, to a civic sense, to respect for human rights, to democracy”.
The Pope’s message of Peace is in synergy with the Post-Chapter journey on which we need to reflect, study personally and in the various local and provincial animation organs. It touches the heart of all the communities for building an enduring future of peace and fraternity.