Lord Make us Instruments of your Peace (Franciscan Times, Winter 2005& THAW, January 1, 2007)

Posted: November 25, 2012 by Ty in Archives
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Please Note this Preamble appeared only in THAW:

Preamble

I would tell you that you were nuts. That’s right I still cannot believe where I have wound up in life. Anyone who knew me growing up would be thinking the same and laughing hysterically along with me. Honestly, a monk–me?? A MONK!! (and it’s a four letter word even). I will admit it gets a bit confusing here, so let’s back up and I’ll try to explain how this all happened.

See it was 1997; I had just gone through a rough break up. That’s the nice way of calling it when the fiancee looks at you and says she needs the cocaine more than you so get the fuck out. I got out. Got depressed to. Planned out to kill myself (why else would my home town of Calgary have such lovely bridges over the Bow River?). In the midst of cleaning out (always rude to leave clutter for those you are going to leave behind) that I stumbled upon that little red pocket Bible you were given in gade 5 by the Gideon’s.

It was one of those aha moments; see it was snapped open under clutter in a trunk of mine (see I may not have been a Christian, but there’s something about any religions book of scripture that you just can’t throw it out). I looked down and saw red, not I wasn’t mad, and it was one of those Bibles with the words of Christ in red ink. King of eye catching.

Fell on the verses in Matthew 22:34-40

But when the Pharisees heard Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered themselves together. One of them, a lawyer asked Him a question testing him, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

And He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and will all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, you shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Okay I got a niggle in the back of my mind. Maybe all those summers at Vacation Bible School was kicking in. I figured I had managed to successfully avoid the whole evil hypocrites in the church my whole life, but my life was over, might as well give it a shot for my last day on earth, not like I had anything against God, just his fan club if you will.

So I called my Nanny and made arrangements to go to church with her and a family friend that Sunday. I felt good as we entered the building, looked at the watch and did the mental count down to my last breath.

It was weird, the church started, but didn’t. Fifteen minutes before hand they did a pre-sing, I didn’t last a song. The first hymn up was “Amazing Grace“. It was in the words of a wretch being saved that I saw a man before me in white. He had a simple message for me, “it will be alright, Ty”. A simple message taht shook me to my core, y’see it was what my Granddad had told me when I was 16 years old and now this other guy was saying it.

My plan was forgotten as I took his hand and accepted his offer for sanity for a split second… what a split second because sanity was not to be in the cards for the ride that lay ahead of me. But in that moment I had no clue what cards I was about to turn over.

What follows was in both Franciscan Times and Thaw

http://www.tssf.org/Winter2005.pdf p.14-15

Instruments of peace are a unique prayer coming from

someone with my background. It is a hard thing to

want to pray for…I am a pacifi st by training, not by nature.

Growing up due to bullying and seeing injustice

in the world I tried to solve the problem with my fi sts.

After over three thousand fi ghts only ever losing due

to fi ghting multiples at once (i.e. fi ve on one, ten on

one, being tossed through a plate glass window when I

was at a writer’s retreat in Banff). But did it really ever

solve anything?

In Matthew 5:9 Jesus makes a promise, that blessed are

the peacemakers, for they will be called Children of

God.

It is many verses like this one, I believe, helped St.

Francis of Assisi who was a warrior (he grew up wanting

to be a knight) and the realization that battles are

not won or lost at the point of a sword, or in my case

the end of a fi st, but rather in the heart of the individual

with the hand made into a fi st or holding the sword

(gun for us).

It is in your heart to make the decision that yes you

will feel better if you kill the person who attacked your

family, perhaps raped your daughter/son. You may

feel better to place the person who hit you in intensive

care or simply strike them back. But do these actions

truly make the world a better place?

Where

: Between you and the aggressor.

What

: A restraint of the person to help mollify them.

Why

: Violence will only beget violence, but in years

of street ministry I have learned that sometimes a

situation will escalate where you and those around

you are in imminent danger or harm. Once authorities

have been notifi ed it can become necessary to

restrain the one acting out till proper help arrives.

With proper restraint it is not done out of anger, or for

some fulfi llment of joy within you. In fact, once this

step has been taken it should lead to your own repentance

before God. But yes sometimes it is necessary and

I just wanted to touch on that so one does not think

that I am saying there is never the situation, but it is the

heart you bring to the situation and the reason behind

doing it.

Working through the love commandments in the Gospel

it bespeaks the heart used in our actions, not the

actions themselves, because sadly in the fallen world

one must act but never as an aggressor.

For the sin lies in the aggression for gratifi cation. This

is a lesson I have learned the hard way, as I said I was

a scrapper growing up in over three thousand fi ghts

on the street. It was the hardest addiction in my life to

get release from, because of the rush that fl ew through

my body and one of the things I knew why traditional

anger management would not work with me.

In traditional anger management you treat the triggers

of what causes the violence, but for one addicted

to the fi ght there is no trigger, it is just done to feel a

rush…it literally was an addiction I had to turn over to

my higher power and took many years of prayer and

refl ection to understand pacifi sm and what it means

within a Biblical context.

It all comes down to one’s heart. Blessed are the peacemakers,

but why are you seeking to be a peacemaker?

What method are you using to bring peace? Is your

heart being shaped by God or by coveting?

And honestly ask yourself as you pray this opening

line in your prayer life—Do you want to be a peacemaker?

Sadly to be like Christ means to live what Christ lived,

turning the other cheek. The Golden Rule-treat others,

as you would like to be treated. In the case of taking

another life or capital punishment there is always the

argument that it is best to execute an innocent than to

let many guilty go free. Think about it deeply though.

Are you prepared to be that innocent person executed?

Then what does it mean in the second part of the Great

Commandment, to love our neighbor as ourselves?

Does this chunk of God’s word help one to understand

better? It is refocusing your life not on a penal idea of

sin, but truly embracing the words Jesus taught us to

pray to God.

Lord, forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin

against us.

To live the forgiving life is part of being a peacemaker.

If as Christ’s ambassador you cannot live out the

forgiveness Christ has given you, how can you hope to

bring peace into your home, community, city, nation or

world?

It is the thought of being a peacemaker. I opened this

chapter pondering if this is something I would want in

my life. What is a peacemaker literally?

For a contemporary example (and a nod to Canadian

Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson who founded them)-

United Nations Peace Keepers. They go into a country

ravaged by war that says they want peace. Wearing

bright blue helmets and armed, but unwilling to open

fi re. See the U.N. in a hail of bullets does not bring

peace; showing love, rebuilding and teaching the

people what it means to co-exist together does.

But what do peacekeepers endure? Do a web search

on recent missions such as Bosnia, Rwanda, or Somalia.

Refl ect on what these soldiers endure. They are

called blessed by Christ for being eternally stuck in the

middle of two sides that want to obliterate one another.

Christ called them blessed. Would you consider this a

blessed existence?

But that leads to the thought. Can a peacemaker ever

use force? Or as the Gospel says when struck on the

right cheek we should offer the left cheek. With this

teaching was it Christ’s intention to produce martyrs

and doormats en masse?

No. It is in living out the Gospel you can learn the fi ve

W’s of non-violent intervention in a situation if you

will.

Who

: The one assaulting you.

When

: Methods such as talking and being non-threatening

have failed, and violence is escalating beyond

emotional and verbal to the physical.

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