Later came the Korean conflict and my own military service as a Marine. I was fortunate not to be sent into combat, for which I can thank God and my Saint Michael’s College training in journalism, as I was eventually assigned to Marine Corps journalism. This war also affected an older brother, then a Marine reservist and officer, who was recalled to active duty. He also served in Vietnam as a CIA officer.
Now our nation is dealing with off and on wars in the Mid-East with the always, so it seems, threat of greater war. With all of these life-affecting events, however, I can attest that this present time with its coronavirus and racial unrest is affecting, not only our nation but, also, pretty much the rest of the world. I think I can safely say that it is a unique phenomenon. I do not recall that the restrictions, for example that we are now enduring in order to reduce contagion from the virus, is anything like we have previously experienced in my time on earth.
Our lives have been upended! We are no longer free to come and go as we please – a restriction that does not go well with us Americans who don’t like to be told when we can go where we want to go. As a result, some of our fellow citizens are taking undue risks to express their “freedom.”
We, too, are challenged to confront within ourselves and in our society the evil and sin of racism. How we can best do this is a nagging question we, as individuals and as a nation, must sincerely strive to answer.
In view of all this, I have been asked to write a reflection on Peace. Two things come to mind, first the biblical story or parable of Job, perhaps a figure of all of us, more or less. Job “had it made,” a beautiful family, a prosperous farm, a reputation as a respected local leader, a good man. Then with a cruel suddenness Job lost it all, including his health. He wondered why God permitted this, and God’s response was that God knew what God was doing, or allowing in Job’s case. In the end, all those good things are restored to Job and he lives happily ever after. The moral of Job’s story is that even when our situations in life look bleak, we need to continue to have faith and trust in God, as did Job despite his woes. That, at least, can contribute to inner peace.
My second thought comes from a saying attributed, at least implicitly, to Saint Francis of Assisi, remembered as a patron of peace: “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me!” If we want peace, and I expect that most of us do, we must first pray and strive to be instruments of peace ourselves. In his beatitudes, Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.”
~Fr. Ray Doherty, SSE. (6/28/20)