We commit ourselves to proclaiming our firm conviction that violence and terrorism are incompatible with the authentic spirit of religion, and, as we condemn every recourse to violence and war in the name of God or of religion, we commit ourselves to doing everything possible to eliminate the root causes of terrorism.
One is called to live nonviolently, even if the change one works for seems impossible. It may or may not be possible to turn the US around through nonviolent revolution. But one thing favors such an attempt: the total inability of violence to change anything for the better.
Violence and oppression take many forms within our world. No Secular Franciscan can work for the reform of every oppressive system; yet every Secular Franciscan must be involved somehow in the work of justice if they are authentically converted, if they truly appropriate the Rule. Each response to the Rule will be unique; each person must interpret what that call to radical conversion means in his or her life. But to all those who respond authentically will come the blessing of penance.
The renunciation of the use of violence, characteristic of the followers of Francis, does not mean the renunciation of action. However, the brothers and sisters should take care that their interventions are always inspired by Christian love.
This is the summation of living the Rule: transformation in Christ, messengers of peace and hope in a world with ever more violence, marginalization, secularity, and poverty. Our task is enormous, but by the grace of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we will continue to be Good News to others as we await the Father’s arms.
It can be difficult to see God’s love in our world when faced with violence, illness, and poverty, but God’s gracious presence is made manifest in our good works. In someway, it is up to each of us to help bring the presence of God to our world.
~ Daniel Horan OFM, Francis of Assisi and the Future of Faith
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
The ‘cry for peace’ rises from the ashes of those who have died and those who continue to suffer the consequences of conflict and violence in Syria, the Middle East, and in other parts of the world. It is clear that we cannot idly stand by and watch as our brothers and sisters suffer as if their suffering has nothing to do with our lives and our Christian, Franciscan identity.
~ Michael A. Perry, OFM, General Minister’s Message of Peace – English Speaking Conference, Order of Friars Minor
Jesus was crucified, in part, because he did not come to preach a word that kept things the way they were, but instead was sent to proclaim the in-breaking of God’s Reign, which is about the establishment of justice and not the earthly status quo of injustice and violence. In other words, Jesus was not sent to be a “nice guy,” because nice guys don’t rock the boat nor do they upset people by challenging the way things are. And, oh, how Jesus upset certain people who had so much to lose because they had gained all — power, wealth, status, etc. — at the expense of others!
~ Daniel P. Horan, OFM, Jesus Was Not Such A ‘Nice Guy’
Francis embodies the Gospel journey from violence to nonviolence, wealth to poverty, power to powerlessness, selfishness to selfless service, pride to humility, indifference to love, cruelty to compassion, vengeance to forgiveness, revenge to reconciliation, war to peace, killing enemies to loving enemies. More than any other Christian, he epitomizes discipleship to Jesus. His witness continues to shine throughout the world.