Pointing at the bulletin letter's date (link) at left will display it's title.
May 23, 2010
Lord Send Us Your SpiritIn the Spring of 1963 a message was sent to the world by the pope we best remember as the man who had the vision and courage to initiate the Second Vatican Council of the Catholic Church. This same man, who many had felt would not be more than a transitional pope because of his advanced age, proved himself to have a similar vision and courage in writing the encyclical we know as Pacem in Terris or Peace on Earth. Pope John XXIII died just two months after writing this encyclical. One would wonder where he got the strength or even the desire to attempt such a work. We can only conclude that he was truly inspired by the Spirit of God who works through all regardless of age or ill health.
Pope John gave us his message on peace at a time when the world did not seem to have any more hope for peace than we do today. The world as he knew it had just recently experienced a sad division between communism and the rest of humanity. The erection of the Berlin Wall had made it clear that there was not to be agreement between political factions for years to come if ever again. The threat of nuclear power was newer but nonetheless very much alive. The world was “shrinking” but the world order was not a healthy one.
The encyclical was long and definitely worth reading but one wonders how many good Catholics bothered to read the entire message. It is probably worth our while to presently take a few minutes to examine an abbreviated part of his message. It is obvious that Pope John did not agree with the rest of humanity who believed that peace was impossible. He forged on, claiming that there were four pillars to the prospect of peace. “These four pillars were what he believed to be the essential conditions for peace in four precise requirements of the human spirit: Truth, Justice, Love and Freedom.” (Pope JPII)
“Truth will build peace if every individual sincerely acknowledges not only his rights, but also his own duties toward others. Justice will build peace if in practice everyone respects the rights of others and actually fulfills his duties toward them. Love will build peace if people feel the needs of others as their own and share what they have with others, especially the values of mind and spirit which they possess. Freedom will build peace and make it thrive if, in the choice of the means to that end, people act according to reason and assume responsibility for their own actions.” (America, 2-10- 2003)
In reading these four pillars we are forced to ask ourselves some serious questions if we are serious about the prospect of peace. With respect to Truth, are we truly motivated by the rights of others and our human duty toward all people? Are we content to be theoretical about the notion of peace? If so, there will never be Justice. Justice means action in word and in deed. It does not take much vision to see that peace will never materialize without the actualization of Justice. Have we taken the time to know our brothers and sisters throughout the world? Can we honestly say that we feel their need and their pain? Can we share our deep seated values of mind and spirit or are we determined to force our values on them? And lastly, are we willing to accept full responsibility for our actions when things don’t work out quite the way we “planned”?
These thoughts give us a totally new perspective on the words of the son: Let There Be Peace
On Earth and Let It Begin With Me. . .Lord, we beg you, Send us your Spirit.