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War & Peace – A Reflection

February 25, 2022
Sunset over the cemetery in Florence, Alabama

As I watch events unfolding in the Ukraine with a very heavy heart, I am reminded of history. When a ruthless dictator is allowed to wreak havoc without restraint, the common people are crushed in order to satisfy the hubris of a megalomaniac. Have we forgotten the lessons of the 1930’s and 1940’s? What about Mr. Gorbachev, tear down the wall? I well remember the Cold War and how the insanity of potential thermonuclear destruction was very real. Have we learned nothing from our past? Or are we condemned to repeat it in a new generation?

As I contemplate and pray… as I seek to see the light of peaceful and let that light shine on and through me, I am revisiting some mentors.

When I pray for peace, I pray not only that the enemies of my own country may cease to want war, but above all that my country will cease to do the things that make war inevitable. – Thomas Merton (New Seeds of Contemplation)

I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity. – President Dwight D Eisenhower (Address before the Canadian Club, Ottawa, Canada, 1/10/46)

Then it was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts, the depths of their hearts where neither sin nor desire nor self-knowledge can reach, the core of their reality, the person that each one is in God’s eyes. If only they could see themselves as they really are. If only we could see each other that way all the time, there would be no more war, no more hatred, no more cruelty, no more greed . . . I suppose the big problem would be that we would fall down and worship each other. – Thomas Merton (New Seeds of Contemplation)

As much as the world has an instinct for evil and is a breeding ground for genocide, holocaust, slavery, racism, war, oppression, and injustice, the world has an even greateer instinct for goodness, rebirth, mercy, beauty, truth, freedom and love. – Archbishop Desmond Tutu

My Lord God, may this world be guided by your Spirit of peace. I fervently pray that we may beat our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks. For the sake of the innocents caught in the crossfire… Dona Nobis Pacem et in Terra.

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