Until and unless Christ is someone happening between people, the Gospel remains largely an abstraction. Until he is passed on personally through faithfulness and forgiveness, through bonds of union, I doubt whether he is passed on at all.
Focus on people rather than causes and projects. Although God does urge you to support causes and projects, his main concern is how well you love and serve people in the process of working on those efforts. Don’t let yourself get stuck daydreaming about ambitious causes and projects in the abstract, without actually following up on your ideas. Instead, get to work serving the real and specific people whom you encounter on a daily basis. As you keep dying to yourself and inviting God to work through you, you’ll do extraordinary work in ordinary ways.
The Gospels aren’t social work. They’re not about shaping ourselves and the people around us up into people who “deserve.” They’re not about an “effective” use of our money, energy, and hearts. They’re about one human being having compassion for another. They’re about love.
Jesus came to change a world in which those at the top have privilege, power, prestige and money while those at the bottom are seen as useless. Jesus came to create a body. Paul, in I Corinthians 12, compares the human body to the body of Christ, and he says that those parts of the body that are the weakest and least presentable are indispensable to the body. In other words, people who are the weakest and least presentable are indispensable to the church. I have never seen this as the first line of a book on ecclesiology. Who really believes it? But this is the heart of faith, of what it means to be the church. Do we really believe that the weakest, the least presentable, those we hide away that they are indispensable? If that was our vision of the church, it would change many things.
To wage war on misery and to struggle against injustice is to promote, along with improved conditions, the human and spiritual progress of all men, and therefore the common good of humanity. Peace cannot be limited to a mere absence of war, the result of an ever precarious balance of forces. No, peace is something that is built up day after day, in the pursuit of an order intended by God, which implies a more perfect form of justice among men.
It is not possible to build bridges between people while forgetting God. But the converse is also true: It is not possible to establish true links with God while ignoring other people.
~ Pope Francis via CNS STORY: Pope Francis to diplomats: Moral relativism endangers peace
I hear from a lot of people who, as soon as I mention peace, want to know, But can’t we use violence here, and here and here? Aren’t we obligated to use violence in this situation and that situation? Aren’t you interested in in carving out the exception? And I’m like No. I am not. We live in a culture that worships violence. That cadre hardly needs another spokesperson. What an incredible notion! Why on God’s green earth would a follower of the Prince of Peace waste his or her time trying to figure out how to be “legitimately” violent? Why, in a world of flowers, trees, birds, books, music, wonder, would I be looking for an excuse, a loophole that “allowed” me to harm the flesh, spirit, mind and heart of another human being?
Heather King, PEACE IN OUR PERSONAL LIVES
From a number of viewpoints, St. Francis is the example of one who has engaged in the spiritual journey successfully. Not only does humility define his relation to God; it comes to shape his relation to other people as well as to the entire created world. If it is true that I live and move and have my being only in the creative and salvific love of God, the same is true of all other people as well as of the entire created order.
~ Zachary Hayes OFM, Bonaventure: Mystical Writings
I know from my own experience that in the last twenty years, the world has moved a very long way towards conformism and passivity. So long a way that the distance is, to me, both frightening and disconcerting. America… not that the people do not complain and criticize, but their complaints and criticisms, indeed their most serious concerns, seem to be involved in trivialities and illusions.
~Thomas Merton via Haunted by Thomas Merton – Aleteia
Franciscan peace is not something saccharine. Hardly! That is not the real Saint Francis! Nor is it a kind of pantheistic harmony with forces of the cosmos… That is not Franciscan either! It is not Franciscan, but a notion that some people have invented! The peace of Saint Francis is the peace of Christ, and it is found by those who “take up” their “yoke”, namely, Christ’s commandment: Love one another as I have loved you (cf. Jn 13:34; 15:12). This yoke cannot be borne with arrogance, presumption or pride, but only with meekness and humbleness of heart.
~Pope Francis, VISITA PASTORALE DEL SANTO PADRE FRANCESCO AD ASSISI (III) HT to Evan Ortiz, OFS