12 Give PEACE a Chance - Dr. (Sr.) Mudita Menona Sodder RSCJ

posted Apr 30, 2019, 6:19 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 30, 2019, 6:19 AM ]
I hail from Goa, which is said to be one of the most peaceful states of India. I am connected with many Peace organizations, like Taize (France), Universal Solidarity Movement (Indore), Tarumitra (Patna), Streevani (Pune), Samanvaya and Centre for Study of Society and Secularism (CSSS), Mumbai, etc. However, during Holy Week 2019, on deeper reflection, I got to grips with my own inner Violence or Un-Peace. Is my body, the Temple of the Holy Spirit, in sync? There can be peace within, only when my body, mind and spirit are one. Is there a balance in my life between eating, sleeping, working and praying? Do I eat the right types of food and in the correct quantity; or do I indulge in greed and gluttony, and binge on junk food? Do I sleep for eight hours every night, giving my tired body the time and chance to recuperate, rejuvenate and become whole again? Do I give my 100 per cent to everything I do, say or think about? How whole and authentic is my relationship with God, made real through my relationships with others? In honesty, I know I have sinned gravely. Lord, help me to give Peace a chance in my own being first, so that I can then become an Ambassador for Peace.

When I look around, all I witness is a culture of violence, prejudice and discrimination, which is fast spreading. I know that more the violence, the greater is the need for peace, and the more the indifference, the greater should be the sensitivity. As a disciple of the Mahatma, in this 150th birth anniversary of Kasturba and Gandhi, both Apostles of Peace and Non-Violence; and as a true follower, I too want to contribute to the building up of a civilization of love and peace.

According to William Barclay, the Scottish theologian, the mule (soft power) is a symbol of peace, while the horse (hard power) is a symbol of war. No wonder Jesus used a donkey to enter into Jerusalem. With my Donkey Spirituality ("the Lord has NEED of you"), how can I work for peace at the grassroot level? How can I be proactive, especially in situations of conflict? What initiatives do I need to take in order to bring about peace? I want to be a channel of peace. I want to cultivate and nurture peace. I want to make adequate and effective resolutions in order to create awareness about peace, forgiveness and harmony, dialogue and reconciliation.

We can no longer continue with the sin of silence. Propaganda is at its peak, and the electorate is polarised. The mental collapse is also linked to the propensity for violence. Pope Francis (World Day of Peace Message 2019) encourages us to engage in the political process for good governance and sustainable peace. As a Eucharistic people, it is our Christian duty to reach out to others, serve all humbly, render unflinching support to defend the pluralistic and secular fabric of the country. We have to vote for Peace, not for hate politics or violence. We have to free ourselves and others from fear, want, discrimination and sexual violence for women, men, transgender people and children. We have to uproot bitterness, divisiveness and violence from our own hearts first, if we, the people of India, want to overcome and ensure the realisation of great Indian stalwarts and visionaries who have gone before us. For this to materialise, we need to increase in ourselves the peace to forgive and be forgiven, and to encourage others, so that they too get the courage to follow suit.

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