As is well known, each year for January 1 the Church promotes reflection upon the fundamental value of peace and invites us to do all we can in order that it be realized. Working toward peace and being especially concerned about situations where peace is lacking is an integral part of the Church’s mission. This is because where there is no peace, respect for fundamental human rights is missing as well.
Peace is not just the absence of armed conflict. This is just one of the consequences, though the most visible, of unjust situations provoked by unequal distribution of resources, exploitation of people and natural resources, by interests of powerful groups in economic, financial and political areas. Whatever causes poverty and injustice inevitably determines a conflict.
In his message for the 47th world day of peace the Pope notes how daily selfishness is at the basis of many wars and so much injustice. In fact, many men and women die at the hands of their brothers and sisters who do not know how to recognize each other as such, that is, as beings made for reciprocity, communion and gifting. And so various kinds of hardships, marginalization, loneliness and various forms of pathological dependence grow.
Life must be promoted even from crises in order to draw forth an opportunity for discernment and new cultural and economic models according to a correct scale of goods-values, which is possible to organize in having God as the final point of reference, by moving from competition to cooperation. Humanity needs to re-discover its vocation, that is, to be sisters and brothers and children of God.
In a letter to his wife from the prison of Kroonstad in 1975, Nelson Mandela observed that “honesty, sincerity, humility, genuine generosity, absence of vanity, and willingness to serve others – qualities that are easily at hand for all individuals – are the basis for the spiritual life of the person.”
As the Pope states the culture of solidarity and fraternity are the basis for and way toward peace.
Sr Maria Teresa Intranuovo, asc