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An Interview with Dr. Alveda King: A Message of Peace and Fear

A Message of Peace and Hope in a Time of Chaos and Fear - Dr. Alveda King Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

One only has to turn on her television set, listen to the radio, peruse social media, or even step outside her front door to be witness to the winds of change sweeping through the nation. Of course, with that wind we have also seen chaos and upheaval grip much of our nation as well. Following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, many have taken the opportunity to speak out against the inequality faced by people of color in our nation. And while this is a wonderful thing to do, others have used this platform to preach change through any means available, including violence. As Christians, what are we supposed to do? How are we supposed to react? How can we help implement change and civil discourse and yet dissuade those using violence?

A Message of Peace and Hope in a Time of Chaos and Fear - Dr. Alveda King Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

I was blessed to speak with pro-life leader and civil rights activist Dr. Alveda King, niece of the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In a candid interview, we discussed the state of our country as well as what we, as Christians, can do to help our nation move forward.  In the eyes of many, the two of us are vastly different- she is an African American from a well-known family, engaged in activism since she was born. She served in the Georgia House of Representatives and has written numerous books. She is well-known, often giving interviews for news stations and other media. She has faced challenges that I will never face. She has lived a life that I cannot imagine.

A Message of Peace and Hope in a Time of Chaos and Fear - Dr. Alveda King Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

I, on the other hand, am a white woman who was born after the civil rights movement and grew up never truly knowing what it was like not to love everyone I met. Schools were not segregated, I had friends of every color and nationality, and I was never taught to hate those who are different from me. I am married to a police officer, who was raised the same, and together we have raised our children to also love everyone they meet. I am a homemaker and homeschooling parent. I practice what I preach and volunteer in many ways to help our community thrive and uplift those who need to be uplifted. I am currently the youth minister at my parish and I would venture to say my name is not known outside of my own little world. We have faced intense hate because of my husband’s chosen profession and for our faith, but our experiences are not the same.

In most people eyes, we are more different than alike… but as Dr. King points out, speaking sister to sister, we aren’t different, we are the same and this is the message we all need to hear but that we often fail to hear.

Beginning a Conversation of Peace

Opening our conversation, I asked Dr. King about her feelings regarding George Floyd, the police, the protests, and ultimately the riots. She began, “We are having this conversation in June of 2020. This particular year there is a new election, we will be reelecting our president I believe and some others will be elected; Covid 19 has just rocked America and the world. This is not new… elections are not new, pandemics are not new; and neither is the violence we are experiencing from the death of George Floyd- a man who was killed from a knee on his neck-of course him being African American and the officer being Caucasian.” Expanding on the public’s vastly different reactions to officer involved arrests by white officers versus black officers, she continued, “So we’re down to the argument of skin color, over and over again. That has happened throughout creation since the fall of humanity. People fight about skin color, class, who’s rich, who’s poor, who’s young, who’s old, and all types of things. The answer, the cure, of course, is always- come to the Lord and seek the Lord. And treat each other, regardless of skin color and socioeconomic conditions- treat each other as humans…”

This is where we most often fail. We only see a black man or a white officer. We fail to see that God has created us each in His image and likeness. We fail to see the inherent dignity in one another. Instead, we focus on skin color, wealth, social standing, age, and a myriad of other qualifiers that don’t necessary qualify but instead divide. And we are all guilty of this regardless of our color, status, pocketbook, etc. As humans, because we are sinful, because have experienced the fall, it is difficult for us to see each other through God’s eyes.

Dr. King quoted Acts 17:26, “He made from one the whole human race to dwell on the entire surface of the earth, and He fixed the ordered seasons and the boundaries of their region” several times throughout our conversation. She lamented, “I was taught by my father, Reverend A.D. King, my mother Naomi King who is still living, my granddaddy Daddy King, Mama King his wife, and my uncle Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that Acts 17:26 “of one blood” means that we have to get along. Martin Luther King Jr said we must learn to live together as brothers and sisters or perish together as fools. We’re not separate races.” She continued, “God created all people…. Our blood is red, our skin color- we can see it. We have to see it or we are colorblind.  It’s a sin to differentiate people by skin color or money or any of the human conditions that we have. The human race has been in the condition of being a fallen group of people in a fallen world. The answer to that is always Jesus Christ. So sin is sin. It is a sin to see our brothers and sisters as other races when we are all of one race- the human race. It is sin to say “my race needs to get along with your race” because there is one race. So, the issue of racism, socially engineered to divide us, is sinful.”

Unfortunately there are those who do not wish to see the world as one race. They hope to keep us separated. How are we to react then to those who wish to keep dividing us? Dr. King, like Martin Luther King Jr and her own father A.D. King, advocates peace. Communication is the key- truly listening to one another and then actively working with one another. But what about those who say that no one is listening and so violence is the only thing that will open the government’s and people’s eyes? When asked about the response of some justifying rioting and other violence she said that people are taking MLK Jr’s quote about “rioting is the language of the unheard” out of context. She states, “Martin Luther King Jr, in that same speech when he was speaking on riots and violence, went on to say that all violence is immoral and doesn’t make sense… we need to be heard, but not with violence. We have to quickly continue to say “we hear you” and now that we hear you, let us communicate in a peaceful, sensible manner. And so we have to NOT be violent and but to work together and learn to live together as brothers and sisters and not perish together as fools- because John 3:16 “for God so love the world…” God’s not colorblind, God’s colors are magnificent!”

Working for Peace

Peace is the key. But how do we teach peace? How do our religious communities take the lead? Dr. King emphatically states, “The leaders of all faiths who acknowledge that there is a God in heaven, need to come together to teach people not to be fearful and tearful and to not panic, but to have faith to pray… to pray instead of panic and to have faith instead of fear. And as leaders do that, (and every person is the leader of him or herself and if he’s not, he’s in serious bondage)- leaders of your homes, your churches, your communities, your work, our governments- all leaders should be encouraging and not stirring up fear.”

Don’t incite fear. Don’t encourage violence. Don’t panic. Instead, pray, have faith, work alongside one another to bring about true change. Encourage one another. Simple but powerful lessons for us all.

As a mother and a youth minister I was particularly interested in what we can do to help raise the next generation to avoid the mistakes of the past and to repair the damage that the past has inflicted. Dr. King spoke eloquently when she said, “Remind these young people of their purpose and their destiny- that they have a voice and their voice comes from God; they have breath that comes from God. And even though George Floyd’s voice had been taken from him, they still have their voices and can raise them for good and unity. We have to teach our young people about God- not to fear, not to panic, but to love and to communicate, to talk… use our breath that God gives us to speak truth.”

This, of course, is not just a message for the white community, but instead for all of us. If we are truly one human race then we must all reach out to one another speaking the words of truth in love… without fear, without panic, but instead with Christ guiding our words and actions.

Conquering Sin Together

As Dr. King and I ended our conversation, I asked her if she could relay one last message to the people reading, a message that she believes God wants all of us to hear, what would it be? She responded with so much love when she said, “The Lord has said in the book of Luke, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me to set the captives free”- the little babies in the womb are captives, people in jail unjustly are captive, God wants this to be a time of repentance and to understand that we are all of one human race. We need to come back to God and God will help us solve these issues together.”  With God’s help, we can be the instruments to set the captives free.

What has happened to George Floyd is unquestionably wrong and horrifying. For any person to be treated as he was can’t be justified. It has shaken us all to our core. It has been a catalyst for change (and thankfully so!).  But as Dr. King agreed, this isn’t just a police officer problem; this isn’t just a black vs white problem; this isn’t just an American problem… this is a worldwide problem. It is a problem with sin. It is a problem with the condition of our hearts. Conquer sin and we will conquer racism and every other ailment of the heart and soul. But we cannot do this without God and we cannot do this without one another.

If you would like to visit Dr. Alveda King at her website you can find it here. Additionally, she works with Priests for Life as their Executive Director of their Civil Rights for the Unborn outreach program.

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Ink Slingers Lynette

May Her Soul Rest in Peace, O Lord

May Her Soul Rest In Peace, Oh Lord

“Look up narrative therapy.”

I was standing in the parking lot of the church, having just attended the monthly Hope and Healing support group for those dealing with grief and sorrow over the loss of a loved one.  I had attended the group a few months prior to share information about a mental health support group I help to run in the local area, as I know first hand how depression and anxiety can be unwelcome friends to grief and sorrow in the lives of those undergoing significant changes after losing a loved one.  As the Holy Spirit so often does though, I quickly discovered that first night that my reason for being there went a lot deeper. My loss was that of my mother to cancer seven years ago and being present to people who had also lost a significant other touched a part of me that I had conveniently buried along with her.

This particular night, a local college professor with an extensive background in mental health and grief counseling, attended the meeting for support and guidance.  From the conversation among those gathered, it became very apparent to me that we all suffer grief in as many ways as we are all unique. Yes, there are the clinically identified “stages” of grief, but there  is no prescribed or anticipated way that anyone will work through any or all of those stages. Grief and sorrow are as mysterious as depression and anxiety and, as much as we would like control over them, many times we are startled by their intrusion into our lives at those inopportune moments when we least expect them.  

As I listened to other people’s experiences, I was secretly hoping for my own “ah ha” moment, something that would shed light on my confusion over my seemingly belated grief over my mother’s passing.  At the time of her death, life was bustling with the activity of our large family. I delved into assisting my dad as much as I could and then when it was all over, our family life swept me back into its busyness.  Over the years, as tiny bits of memories surfaced, I dealt with them as best I could, frequently turning to the cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques I had learned through the local mental health support group.  It was a real consolation to hear the professor state “life has changed and it will never be the same … nor should it be.” A reality that is obvious, but seldom one we give ourselves permission to accept as truth, thus allowing us to navigate a new “norm.”  

My “ah ha” moment wasn’t in the form of any type of knowledge based assessment of the grieving process I had assumed I would garner from conversation and/or guidance given.  It was partly in the stark realization that I had dealt with her death just like I had dealt with any other traumatic event in my life – I got through it as best I could and then tucked it all away into what was referred to by the professor as “the memory box.”  The box was then closed and sealed, quite securely I would add, with duct tape. Out of sight, out of mind. But not quite. Those mysterious moments of memory resurface, challenging us to peel back the duct tape to peer inside. Sometimes we are ready. Most times, not.  But when we do, I believe that is when God can do His most wonderful work of mercifully assisting us in working through our humanity to see the spiritual side of grief. The question in my mind as I left the gathering was “now what?” Now that I was aware of this box and its insistence that I peel back that duct tape and take a good look inside, how was I to approach it?  How would I handle the raw emotions I was sure to unbox?

Narrative therapy is a form of psychotherapy where one looks at their autobiographical narrative, or story, with personal reflection into the areas that need to be re-written.  In the TEDx talk, Change Your Story, Transform Your Life, John Sharp, psychiatrist and therapist, provides key tools for editing our personal documentary, which then sheds light on what can become of our future history. Looking into the past with a more mature, adult perspective, helps to determine what “inner truths” were based on misconstrued reality.  His threefold re-writing approach is a very practical visual analogy – what story have you been feeding yourself? (your fork) What can you add to the story? (spoon in your strengths to reassess truths) What do you need to cut out? (your knife)

Being a writer with a love for things that “make sense”, I set out to examine the story of “mom and me.”  Starting with my earliest memories, all the way to her last days, I delved into what I knew, or at least what I thought I knew.  I looked at all of it – the good, the bad, and yes, even the ugly. For as many fond memories there were, there were equally as many difficult moments where we stuborrnly butted heads.  Bottom line was, we were two strong-willed women who loved each other, but we were also flawed human beings in need of God’s grace.

But the story changed drastically the last month of her life.  Three years prior, she had been diagnose with multiple myloma, a typically debilitating, painful cancer.  Truly by God’s mercy, she was graced with three years of manageble symptoms and was able to continue her daily activities, including working at Catholic Charities where she had worked for over 30 years.  The last few months though, the cancer took over and my mother, refusing to “give up the ship” decided to try more aggressive treatment which required hospitalization. In my heart, I knew that decision would be the deciding factor in how she would spend her last days.

That last month changed everything.  It was God’s providential timing that my children had just finished their school year and I was able to be of help to my father by taking the “morning shift” with my mother.  Meeting with her doctor, helping order breakfast for us both, tending to her physical needs, etc., became the new reality. Where I would have liked to have had a few in-depth mother-daughter conversations, especially about faith and what we were going through, it was apparent that my mother was going to cling to her belief that she would beat the cancer and such conversations were therefore taboo.  There were many times we just sat quietly, her lost in thought, me lost in prayer. As she became weaker and the chemo took its toll on her aging body, those daily small acts of mercy were my way of telling her I loved her.  

There was only one time I saw my mother waver, crying out asking for God to help her.  That day she asked me to come back in the evening to pray with her before bed. Holding my hand with one hand and my fathers with the other, she would close her eyes as I let the Holy Spirit lead me in vocal prayer for her.  I would bless her forehead, walk with my dad to the parking lot, and head back to my family. At times it seemed almost surreal, at times it was far too real. Before I knew it, our time with her was over and I was kneeling in the wee hours of the morning by her bed in hospice, again praying out loud, palms upraised, as the Holy Spirit prompted.  The feeling of her presence as my dad, my brothers, and I were gathered there, will forever be etched in my heart and soul.

The real “ah ha” moment came as I worked through the story of my mom and I recalled my surprise one day when I discovered a book of my mothers, its pages well worn and highlighted.  The title of the book was Divine Mercy Triumph Over Cancer by Ronald M. Sobecks.  While cancer took her earthly life, I know her real triumph was trusting in God’s Divine Mercy.  What transpired between my mother and I over the course of our years on earth is unchangeable history, but the story is still being written.  Every day is an opportunity for me to witness to that Divine Mercy in her memory and an opportunity for me to practice the spiritual work of mercy in praying for the repose of her soul.  And if my mother, by God’s infinite mercy, is already singing His praises among the Church Triumphant, I know, without a doubt, she is praying for me.

As we approach the Feast of Alls Souls, let us continually re-write our stories, witnessing to and praying for God’s mercy upon all those who have gone before us.  May their souls rest in peace, O Lord.

 


Food for Thought

  1. What has been your experience with grief over the loss of a loved one?
  2. Are there parts of the story that need to be evaluated and perhaps re-written?
  3. What can your future story with that individual look like?
  4. Can you move from an earthly story to a spiritual story, trusting in God’s Divine Mercy?
  5. How can your story now incorporate Divine Mercy in memory of your loved one?

 

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Ink Slingers

Woman, Why Are You Weeping?

“Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” asks Jesus of Mary Magdalen at the tomb.

How often in my life has Jesus asked this very question of me? Woman, why are you weeping? Grieving is necessary and appropriate. If I have not grieved, I would question the authenticity of my passion for a project or an idea or my love of a person or friendship. Grief is needed to process real disappointments and losses. There have been, however, seasons or situations in my life when I have experienced a grief that turned into something else entirely. At times I have gotten quite comfortable with sadness allowing it to cover me, tucking me in for a long nap. And this grief, while keeping me company in the mourning, has in time turned to pity. Pity is dark, cold and slippery. Pity easily gave me permission to wallow in the injustice of my disappointment turning it rapidly into discouragement. Self-pity has taken my sorrow or my suffering, turning it to depression and eventually despair.  I have experienced all these emotions in varying degrees at times in my life. I have had to work hard through therapy and counseling, prayer and proper self-care to better manage my emotions and thoughts. “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” It is difficult to know how often I have been unable to see Jesus standing with me in the mess. I am unsure of how many times I have been unable to hear Him asking me, “Woman, why are you weeping?”  

Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord!

How often I wonder where God is when I am overwhelmed or suffering. Why God have you allowed this thing to happen to me? Why God does it seem You are not answering my prayers? Why God are You allowing so much suffering to go on? Recently it occurred to me that maybe it isn’t in the why but the how. In imitation of Mary, Our Blessed Mother, maybe I should be asking how is it that I am to carry on Lord. How Lord can I serve you in the suffering? How Lord can I find you in the sorrow? How Lord can I join my sorrows to yours? Because isn’t it true that it is not if I experience tribulations but when? When I find myself asking Lord, where are You, am I not already consumed by my distress? Fear takes over, peace is absent. Where is my Lord? Where has He gone? “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” I am weeping for a variety of reasons; many of them have to do with my perception of what life should look like or feel like in any given situation on any day of the week. I am a perfectionist working on recovery. Messy. Chaotic. Disordered. All of the stuff that is a part of being alive and caring for others is hard on me.  People are messy. Relationships can be as disordered as my emotions. Family life, well, ours can be a rollercoaster ride. And, far too often I forget to remember that this life is not without suffering. This life, if I am trying to live with my heart wide open, is not without pain. This beautiful gift, along with the people God has placed in it, is meant to shape me, refine me, teach me and mold me into the best version of myself God created me to be. “Whom, am I looking for?” Like Mary Magdalen, in the sorrows or frustrations of my everyday life, I want to be looking for Jesus? Am I seeking Him to be my teacher, my guide for this earthly journey? When the reality of life is harsh and heartbreaking I know I need to be running to Him for solace.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. -John 14:27

I have found these four practices to be essential to keeping me centered and at peace. They have become incorporated into the routine of my life. In regularly participating in these four practices I have encountered Christ, and I have grown closer to Him. I have become more confident in His promises.  He is with us. Always and all ways.

Daily Morning Prayer. Every morning I get up. Make a cup of coffee and grab my prayer journal along with the daily readings. I open them up and ask the Holy Spirit to speak to me in the readings. And, He does! All I must do is show up and pray. This has really changed my relationship with God.

Mass. I try to go daily. I need this to ground me for the day and to feed my spirit. It is what has healed me and sustained me through many a difficult time.

Confession. I know. I have a love-hate thing with this Sacrament. It is so hard to get myself there oftentimes but once there it is such a beautiful healing mercy.

Adoration. The most important regularly scheduled appointment I have on my calendar. Once a week for one hour I sit in front of the Blessed Sacrament in quiet. I drop all my stuff right there at the altar. I just leave it and pray, listening for the Comfort of my soul.

Psalm 23
The LORD is my shepherd;
there is nothing I lack.
In green pastures he makes me lie down;
to still waters he leads me;
he restores my soul.
He guides me along right paths
for the sake of his name.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff comfort me.

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Ink Slingers Mary Beth

Love, Despite

Love, Despite

I am a word nerd. Always have been. Growing up, I knew how to read before I started school. I wrote funny poems about and for my second-grade friends. And I often stayed in at recess just so I could get a jump on my new spelling words. When I first discovered the existence of a thesaurus, my nerdy word world was rocked! My Creator made me this way, so I choose to run with it. And because he made me this way I have learned that whenever he wants my attention, he likes to send a word for me to ponder. The ponder word can bubble up during my prayer journaling time, while I’m reading a book, while I’m saying the rosary or even while I’m spacing out in the car or the shower. I know the word when I see it and hear it because it usually compels me to pause. The word crackles my brain circuits for the tiniest moment and makes my heart sit up and take notice. I love this special way God and I have of communicating. It always draws me nearer to him. It teaches me something that’s relevant to the particular season of spiritual growth I happen to be in.

despite stands out

The most recent word that has been surfacing on a regular basis in my life is despite. Initially, I thought it was a negative word that implied a struggle, a difficulty, a challenge to overcome. But after stewing on it and wondering how God wants me to apply it in my life, I found it to be a positive, faith-filled word. A turning-point, change-of-perspective word. A word that I need to integrate into my daily life to keep me motivated and help me to become a stronger disciple of Jesus.

One example? Jesus commands us to Love One Another. That wouldn’t be so difficult if we weren’t humans, am I right? As EWTN’s Mother Angelica once said, “If it wasn’t for people, we could all be holy!” We humans have faults and quirks and annoying personality traits that make us tough to love. Ask my husband, who has to bite his tongue every time I bring home another lost cat or dog, forget to put gas in the vehicle or launch into one of my infamous pouting jags after a disagreement. I know I can be tough to love! But that’s where the word despite comes in. We have to love, despite. Jesus did not say to us, “Don’t worry—you only need to love those who are easy to love.” He said to love one another (everyone–even our enemies!) and that means to love one another despite. Despite the character flaws, despite the behaviors, despite the anger or frustration we may feel. By adding the word “despite” to the command, I can acknowledge that it’s not going to be a cake walk to do this loving thing, but I need to do it anyway.

There’s also Follow Me, despite. Again, Jesus does not promise an easy path by obeying this command. There’s a cross we need to take up with this one, after all. But for me, hearing that word in my ears reminds me that when the going gets tough, I need to keep going! Whether the road is uphill, or rocky or fogged in on all sides so I have no clue where it is leading. I need to Follow Him, despite the obstacles.

And then there’s Be Not Afraid, despite. Despite the fact that the financial strain is overwhelming or a child’s situation is desperate or the diagnosis is terminal. This is a tall order, Sistas. It’s fraught with doubt, discouragement, and fear. But if and when we can Be Not Afraid despite the circumstances of our situation, we learn to trust Jesus more. And when we trust Jesus more, we can Be Not Afraid even more, despite. See how that works?

And here’s more great news: our Good Shepherd also freely gives us patience, persistence, hope, joy, grace, mercy, strength and peace, despite. Despite the fact that we are ungrateful, grumbling, complaining little sheep; despite the fact that we don’t deserve it and can’t earn it. And despite the fact that we are sinners. He loves us with an all-encompassing, never-ending love, despite everything we do to push him away or ignore him or offend him! He pours out gifts to us, in abundance, despite.

Cool, huh? It’s a perfectly formed Divine strategy. So go forth today, sweet Sista, and know you can love and be loved. Have peace in your heart and be not afraid, despite!

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Motherhood Prayer Rosary Spiritual Growth Susan

That They All May Be One: Mother As Peacemaker

Recently a dear priest gave a homily on St. Elizabeth of Portugal. She was the great-granddaughter of St. Elizabeth of Hungary. Like the other Elizabeth, through marriage, she became Queen of a country different from her own. She did all she could to keep peace between her son and her husband, between family and nations. Father reiterated, “She was not a virgin nor religious; she was a mother.” When he said, “she was a mother,” I felt, “be a peacemaker.”  But what is a peacemaker?

I never considered the importance peacemaking was to motherhood. When I told my husband I was writing an article on how moms are called to be peacemakers, he kindly laughed! I cannot blame him; I mean, how often are we the cause of tension in the home?! Nevertheless, we are called to be peacemakers. But what do I know about being a peacemaker?! Where would I begin? I had to do research and reflection. This is what I have learned:

‘Enemies of peace’ need to be exchanged with ‘friends of peace’.

The enemies of peace are anger; ignorance of a person’s plight; ignorance of the world’s plight; desire for profit; lack of respect for life; self-absorption; disinterestedness in the true meaning of work; and misunderstanding the value of marriage and family. On the contrary, peacemakers love; take family seriously; promote the common good; educate in lofty values; defend the innocent and poor; promote human life and value the family. They forgive; reconcile; share goods; work for unity; avoid revenge; and avoid unnecessary war/arguments.  As I reflect on the lists, and recall the life of St. Elizabeth of Portugal, I begin to see a peacemaker as someone who brings together two opposing sides for reconciliation.

Christ is The Peacemaker and His Sacrifice the Greatest Act of Peace.

“Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!” Christ lifted up at every Mass is the same event of Christ on the Cross, held between heaven and earth, draws all to Himself. This is the ultimate coming together of two sides in the reconciling of sinners to God. If His greatest act of peace was His Sacrifice, where did He begin His work of peace? It was in the family…specifically in the womb of His Mother.

The family is essential to fostering peace in the world.

The Church follows Christ’s example and says even today that peace in the world starts in the home. Pope Benedict XVI spoke on the World Day of Peace in 2013. He said, “No one should ignore or underestimate the decisive role of the family, which is the basis of all society.” He also said the family “is one of the indispensable social subjects for the achievement of a culture of peace.”

But Pope Benedict also told the world that peace is a slow process. He advises us all to create an atmosphere of respect, honesty, and cordiality through our thoughts, words and gestures. We need to remember that we should “feel the need of others as our own” and not tolerate them, but LOVE them. He wisely states peace “depends above all on recognizing that we are, in God, one human family.” It is no coincidence that he wrote this message on December 8 of 2012 (Feast of the Immaculate Conception) and gave the speech on January 1, 2013 (Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God). Why? Because the role of the mother is pivotal to the establishment of peace in the home and in the world.

“Thy will be done” equals peace of heart.

When Mary was spoken to by the angel Gabriel, a life was offered to her that could easily instill every anxiety. Instead, she abandoned herself to God’s will, then hastened to assist her cousin Elizabeth.  She trusted, then went about her duty. What she did is what the saints call abandonment.

Abandonment is an attitude of detachment. It is a spiritual gift which we are told to ask the Holy Spirit to give us. In Searching for and Maintaining Peace by Father Jacques Philippe he writes, “The measure of our interior peace will be that of our abandonment, consequently our detachment.” And “if we leave God free to act in His way, He is infinitely more capable of rendering us happy than we ourselves are, because He knows us and loves us more than we can ever know or love ourselves.” What happens when we do not allow Him to act freely? Anger, self-absorption, disinterestedness, anxiety, and all the enemies of peace grow. Therefore, let us to pray for this grace and read books written by the Saints on abandonment to God. Since allowing God to work freely fosters peace of heart, and we are the heart of our homes, learning to say “Thy will be done” is important to our growth in holiness and becoming peacemakers. Where can we being? With Mary, of course!

The Heart of the Mother desires peace for her family.

It was in the midst of World War I, 1917. Europe was losing the lives of many young men. The century of wars was in full force.  Our Lady reached out to the world through three little children. The horrors and threats were beyond the understanding of the poor shepherds of Fatima, Portugal, yet their hearts were open to her message. Are we? 

  • The Angel told them to “believe, adore, hope, love” God.
  • Adore the Blessed Sacrament and offer the Body and Blood of Jesus to the Father “in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges, and indifference with which He is offended.”
  • Offer prayers and sacrifices constantly to the Most High.
  • Accept all the sufferings God wills for you. 
  • Make everything a sacrifice for the conversion of sinners.
  • Do not offend the Lord our God anymore because He is already so much offended.
  • God wants to establish in the world devotion to my (Mary’s) Immaculate Heart.
  • Pray, pray very much and make sacrifices for sinners.
  • Pray the Rosary every day in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary, in order to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war, because only She can help you.

Peace is unity with God.

It should come as no surprise that Mary, Mother of the Church and Queen of the World, would teach us how to obtain peace in our hearts and our world during this modern age. She shows us that the Christian mother’s vocation is pivotal in promoting peace and she wants to help. Peace begins with conversion, and conversion requires sacrificing our desires for God’s will and the good of all souls. So by following her example we will first say “yes” to God’s will, and then “make haste” to serve and foster unity. In a nutshell, peacemakers aim to answer the prayer of Christ in the Garden when He prayed for His disciples saying, “That they all my be One, as you, Father, and I are one.” Hence, peace is oneness with God. Moms are peacemakers when we work for this unity.

It all begins when we ask what Lucia asked Mary 100 years ago, “What do you want of me?”, then hasting to serve our families in peace.

I encourage you to take full advantage of the indulgences (see the link below) given during this 100th Anniversary of Fatima. And pray the Rosary every day.

References:

https://wafusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Plenary-Indulgence-Centennial-Fatima-Apparitions-2017.pdf

http://www.foryourmarriage.org/peacemakers-born-and-raised-in-families/

https://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/messages/peace/documents/hf_ben-xvi_mes_20121208_xlvi-world-day-peace.html

https://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/messages/peace.index.html