From Fr. John Dear in his book Put Down Your Sword:
For years, one of my friends, the legendary folksinger Pete Seeger, has questioned friends and audiences who feel hopeless. “In the early 1970s,” he asks, “did you ever expect to see President Nixon resign because of Watergate?”
“No,” people answer.
“Did you ever expect to see the Pentagon leave Vietnam the way it did?”
“No, we didn’t,” everyone answers.
“In the 1980s, did you expect to see the Berlin Wall come down so peacefully?” Pete asks.
“No, never,” they respond.
“In the 1990s, did you expect to see Nelson Mandela released from prison, apartheid abolished, and Mandela become president of South Africa?”
“Never in a million years.”
“Did you ever expect the two warring sides of Northern Ireland to sign a peace agreement on Good Friday?”
“If you can’t predict those things,” Pete concludes, “don’t be so confident that there’s no hope! There’s always hope!”
We do not know what the future will bring. We cannot see where the road is leading. We know the sufferings, wars, and injustices tearing us apart, but we do not know the outcome. And so we cannot presume that there is no hope of a new world of peace.
We only know our mission, our vocation, our duty is to proclaim God’s reign of peace and resist the anti-reign of war.
We know that the God of peace is alive and active among the struggling people of the world. We know that if we repent of our violence and take up God’s way of nonviolence, the world can be transformed into a haven of harmony for everyone. We know that if we stay on the road to peace, one day we will enter God’s house of peace and meet the God of peace face-to-face.
The key, then, is to remain faithful to the journey of peace, to take the next step on the path of nonviolence, to join hands with one another and walk forward with hope.
I regularly need to be reminded…