Thursday, February 22, 2007

Lenten Reflection from the Vatican

On the Revolution of Love
It "Changes the World Without Making Noise"

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 18, 2007 ( Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered today before reciting the midday Angelus with several thousand people gathered in St. Peter's Square.

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

This Sunday's Gospel has one of the most typical, yet most difficult, teachings of Jesus: Love your enemies (Luke 6:27).

It is taken from the Gospel of Luke, but it is also found in Matthew's Gospel (5:44), in the context of the programmatic discourse that begins with the famous Beatitudes. Jesus delivered this address in Galilee, at the beginning of his public ministry: It was something of a "manifesto" presented to everyone, which Christ asked his disciples to accept, thus proposing to them in radical terms a model for their lives.

But what is the meaning of his teaching? Why does Jesus ask us to love our very enemies, that is, ask a love that exceeds human capacities? What is certain is that Christ's proposal is realistic, because it takes into account that in the world there is too much violence, too much injustice, and that this situation cannot be overcome without positing more love, more kindness. This "more" comes from God: It is his mercy that has become flesh in Jesus and that alone can redress the balance of the world from evil to good, beginning from that small and decisi ve "world" which is man's heart.

This page of the Gospel is rightly considered the "magna carta" of Christian nonviolence; it does not consist in surrendering to evil -- as claims a false interpretation of "turn the other cheek" (Luke 6:29) -- but in responding to evil with good. (Romans 12:17-21), and thus breaking the chain of injustice. It is thus understood that nonviolence, for Christians, is not mere tactical behavior but a person's way of being, the attitude of one who is convinced of God's love and power, who is not afraid to confront evil with the weapons of love and truth alone. Loving the enemy is the nucleus of the "Christian revolution," a revolution not based on strategies of economic, political or media power. The revolution of love, a love that does not base itself definiti vely in human resources, but in the gift of God, that is obtained only and unreservedly in his merciful goodness. Herein lies the novelty of the Gospel, which changes the world without making noise. Herein lies the heroism of the "little ones," who believe in the love of God and spread it even at the cost of life.

Dear brothers and sisters: Lent, which begins this Wednesday, with the rite of the distribution of ashes, is the favorable time in which all Christians are invited to convert ever more deeply to the love of Christ.

Let us ask the Virgin Mary, the docile disciple of the Redeemer, to help us to allow ourselves to be conquered without reservations by that love, to learn to love as he loved us, to be merciful as our heavenly Father is merciful (Luke 6:36).


Suggested Lenten Actions

* Read Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical “God is Love”, World Day of Peace Message and his Message for Lent 2007 available at the Vatican web site, Discuss them with your friends and family.

* Read Gaudium et specs (The Church in the Modern World) to learn more about the Church’s role in the international community and our responsibility toward promoting the common good and the dignity of the human person.

* Attend St. Teresa’s Lenten Mission lecture series .

* Read and reflect on the contemporary and personal meaning of the Beatitudes.

* Keep a daily journal noting personal acts of peace and acts of violence, including anger and hard-heartedness.

* With an open heart and mind examine the lives and motives of those with which you are at odds and try to see things through their eyes. Look for common ground in the belief systems of those with which you think you generally disagree.

* Witness to the peace, mercy and compassion of Christ in your words and actions.

* Pray for peace.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Pax Christi NJ Convocation

Please see below information on the Pax Christi NJ Convocation along with a nomination form for the annual Dorothy Day Peacemaker Award. All are welcome. Please note that full-time students can attend for free.

Pax Christi New Jersey


Convocation on Peace Building and Mutual Coexistence in the Middle East

Saturday, March 3, 2007

St. Anthony’s Parish Center

121 Bridge Avenue

Red Bank, New Jersey

Presenters: Professor Sami Adwan, Professor of Education, Bethlehem


Professor Dan Bar-On, Professor of Psychology at Ben Gurion


Co-Directors of the Peace Research Institute of the Middle East


8:30 a.m. Arrival and Registration

9:15 a.m. Opening Prayer

10:00 a.m. Presentation and Discussion

12:00 p.m. Brown Bag Lunch (beverages and desserts provided)

1:00 p.m. Presentation and Discussion

Closing Liturgy

Registration Fee: $15.00

Scholarship fund: Members of Pax Christi New Jersey are encouraged to invite any interested persons, especially students, to this convocation. Registration fees will be deferred for all full time students. If you are a full time student please indicate this on your registration form and send to Debbie Schnell at the address below.

Please bring a brown bag lunch.

Beverages and desserts will be provided. Please bring your own mug or cup to help preserve our environment.

Books and items from Pax Christi will be available for purchase.

Directions: (For assistance with directions please call 732-614-1141 on day of Convocation)

From Garden State Pkwy south Bound

Pkwy South to Exit 109-Red Bank

Take left at end of ramp onto Rte 520 East

AT 4th light make left onto Shrewsbury Ave.

At 1st light make a right onto Dr. Jams Parker Blvd.

St Anthony’s Parish Center is approximately ½ mile on the right side, just before the train station.

From Garden State Pkwy Northbound

Pkwy North to Exit 109- Red Bank

Take right at end of ramp onto Rte 520 East

At 3rd light make left onto Shrewsbury Ave.

Follow steps 4 and 5 from above.

From NJ Turnpike South/GW Bridge

Turnpike South to Exit 11 Garden State Parkway

Stay left, follow signs for GSP South, Local

Follow steps 1-5 from GSP Southbound above.


Registration Deadline: February 27, 2007

Mail registration form with payment and to:

Debbie Schnell

610 Central Avenue

Spring Lake Heights, New Jersey 07762




Daytime Phone Number:_________________________

Monday, February 19, 2007

February's Peace Vigil

Although it was terribly cold and our numbers were small at our most recent vigil in February the Summit Interfaith Peace Vigil still took place. I know that those of you who weren’t with us physically were with us in spirit. I would like to share with everyone our peace prayer for February.

Let us invoke the Love that moves above us and below us, around us and within us. Let us invoke the living spirit of the peacemakers who have gone before us; Philip Berrigan, Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr.. Let us invoke their spirit. Let us invoke the Spirit of Love that is lived as solidarity of each with all, of one with the other:

man with woman…
adult with child…
black with white…
Christian with Buddhist with Jew with Muslim…

Let us invoke the Love that moves above and below us, around us and within us.
Let us invoke the Spirit of Love that is greater than us, but which is made real through us -- and only though us.
Let us invoke that human solidarity that makes justice possible and through which by making justice, we make peace possible.

Let us invoke love and live it as solidarity.

Our lives are our prayers.


Adapted from Peace Meditation
by the Rev. Anthony P. Johnson
First Unitarian Universalist Church of Essex County,
Orange, New Jersey

Our next vigil will be held on Thursday March 8th at 6:30 pm. We will gather as always in front of the war memorial on the village green in Summit (at the corner of Elm & Broad Sts.)

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Catholic Peace Fellowship Off to the Vatican

Just as Dorothy Day and the early organizers of Pax Christi USA traveled to Rome in 1962 to meet with members of the Second Vatican Council, a delegation from the Catholic Peace Fellowship will shortly be off to Rome as well to meet with members of the Vatican including the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faithful. Dorothy Day and her delegation were successful in having the following lines inserted into Gaudium et spes (The Church in the modern world):

“Every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and humanity which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation.”
The Catholic Peace Fellowship will be asking for clearer statements in the Catechism supporting conscientious objectors. See below for their specific objectives.

Please pray that the upcoming CPF trip is successful. For more information on the Catholic Peace Fellowship you can go to

From March 12 - 21, a Catholic Peace Fellowship delegation will be in Rome to share with Church officials our experience working with conscientious objectors and to push for even stronger support for them and their opposition to war.

The delegation will consist of Tom Cornell (who, along with Jim Forest, co-founded CPF in 1964), Mike Griffin, CPF Education Director, and Joshua Casteel, Iraq War veteran and Catholic conscientious objector.

The three will meet with officials from the Vatican Secretariat of State, the Pontifical Council for Justice, and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It now seems possible that we will have a brief encounter with Pope Benedict XVI. We will help lead a conference in Assisi, and will meet with Catholic movements like Sant’ Egidio.

Please pray for the success of our trip. Pray that those who went before us, like Dorothy Day, who made a pilgrimage to Rome during the Second Vatican Council, be with us as we seek to fulfill our objectives:

-to ask for even clearer public statements that conscientious objection is a central tool by which the Church can resist war and be a sign of peace.

-to ask for a future addendum to the Catechism section on war, making clear that just war doctrine is more than “a tool for statecraft” and can be applied by soldiers.

-to address problems that arise when the chaplains are supposed to act both as agents of the military and as ministers of the Church.

-to urge Church leaders to call for the legal protection of selective conscientious objectors. Absent such protection, we will urge that the Church advise pastors and youth leaders to counsel extreme caution toward an enlistment which gives one’s conscience to the state.

How can you help? Since our trip takes place during Lent, you can offer your prayer, fasting and almsgiving for this pilgrimage. Also, we are still raising money to cover the costs of this trip. If you are able, simply go to our secure site for donations, and send us an email letting us know that your donation is earmarked for the Rome pilgrimage. Or send us a check in the mail!

Lastly, we welcome any ideas you'd like to share with us before we go!

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