June 2007 - Volume 11, Issue 11

Editorial – Peace Makers

By Rev. Mark Connolly

Photo of a white doveGeorge Santayana once said, "if we don't learn from the mistakes of the past we are bound to commit them in the future". And one of the mistakes we make in our country is that we think this quality of peace, especially with this war in Iraq, that the solution for this war will come from someone in our government or in top positions. But if you look back into the history of our society, history teaches us a different lesson. Just think of Rosa Parks who refused to change her position on a bus and started the civil rights movement. Washington learned from her. When you think of the woman who lost a child to a drunken driver by the name of Candy Lightner, here was a woman who by her actions forced legislators all throughout the country to change the laws of driving so that dangerous drivers will be taken off the road. When you think of Martin Luther King and his famous speech, "free at last, free at last", how this one individual changed the course of American history.

As all of us know, the war in Vietnam, from the moment it ended, took about four years before any sort of peace treaty was established. This war in Iraq will probably take the same amount of time because of negotiations and all sorts of radical considerations that will have to be made. Do you think it is too much in our country, out of 300 million people, that one person cannot give a series of his ideas to the government in Washington that would bring this war in Iraq to a faster conclusion? When we look at the roles that individuals have played in changing the course of various problems in our society just because they believed in the ideas they have and implemented them in the same society. Each one in our country must get rid of the idea that it is only the government that can bring peace. It is only the government that can negotiate the provisions of peace. On a pragmatic scale that might be true, but there is something even more true and powerful and it is the power of one person's idea.

If you look at the Gospels you might recall that Christ gave to each one different talents. Some are going to be artists, some are going to be musicians, some are going to be doctors, but everyone no matter how many talents you have been given, everyone can become a peace maker. Do you remember that beautiful prayer of St. Francis that goes, "Lord, make me an instrument of your peace, where there is hatred let me bring love", each one of us has the opportunity in our own little way to become a peace maker by implementing those thoughts in that beautiful prayer of St. Francis. There are people who are in nursing homes who are extremely lonely. You could help alleviate some of their loneliness by personally bringing the charity of Christ in the form of a card or telephone call. There are people whose family lives are shattered by incurable cancers. You can be one person to bring into that home a small box of cookies just to show them that you care. When you read the beautiful poem of Dr. Tom Dooley called "The Agony of Mankind", he wrote a beautiful line when he said, "Listen to the agony of mankind And know full well that not until I share their bitter cry, Their pain and hell, can God within my spirit dwell".

These are the individual qualities each one is capable of bringing into the society in which we live. We can change the climate of our culture by personally assuming an individual responsibility that finds us bringing personal charity, personal compassion, personal consideration to those in want and need. Yes, we all know that there are over 800 million people on this globe who earn a salary of less than $400 a year. But what is more important, we all know that if each one brings the gospel of love to that neighbor or that person down the street or that stranger, you not only change the climate of his life, you make him experience Christ in a most personal fashion. You become his peace maker. And that is what this country needs more of - peace makers.