“In all his (Francis of Assisi) preaching, before he presented the word of God to the assembly, he prayed for peace saying: “May the Lord give you peace.’ He always proclaimed this to men and women, to those he met and to those who met him. Accordingly, many who hated peace along with salvation, with the Lord’s help wholeheartedly embraced peace. They became themselves children of peace.” (The Life of St. Francis by Thomas of Celano)
Another act of violence has griped the headlines these past few days. In a building dedicated to the memory of Jewish victims of the Holocaust, James Von Brunn, a crazed gunman, full of hatred of Jews, shot and killed a security guard, and threatened the lives of many visitors before he himself was shot. (http://www.catholicnews.com/data/briefs/cns/20090611.htm) Hatred drove him to violence, just as hatred drove Scott Roeder to kill Dr. Tiller. They are the public face of hatred in America, but how much more hatred lies under the surface, and what can be done to confront it.
Jesus Christ said “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you,..” (Matt 5: 43-44) These words we need to make our own, carry them in our hearts. We need to live peace in our relationships with family members, co-workers, and strangers, especially those who rub us the wrong way. We need to speak peace when words of hate are spoken. We need to be points of light, which together will be a fire that will disperse the darkness creeping in our land.