How is it possible that a man schemes to destroy another man, who is in the image and likeness of God? How could he raise his hand against his brother? What goes on in his soul? How could he threaten another being of equal dignity? What happens in the heart of the one who murders his brother who, on the contrary, cooperates in the search of the good, happiness and peace?
We can cite as causes, what is taught by the Scripture and the Magisterium of the Church:
“Injustice, excessive economic or social inequalities, envy, distrust, and pride raging among men and nations constantly threaten peace and cause wars. Everything done to overcome these disorders contributes to building up peace and avoiding war: ‘Insofar as men are sinners, the threat of war hangs over them and will so continue until Christ comes again; but insofar as they can vanquish sin by coming together in charity, violence itself will be vanquished and these words will be fulfilled: ‘they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more’ (Isaiah 2, 4)” (GS 78; Catechism of the Catholic Church # 2317)”.
In this text we find implied the essential and deepest cause and also the true solution of every conflict, whether personal, communitarian or social.
We find within ourselves a disorder, an injury, and some destructive tendencies. Something happened at the beginning that upset the original plan of God for his beloved creature. The Holy Scripture says: “God created man to be immortal, and made him in the image of his own nature, but by the devil’s envy death entered the world, and those who belong to his party experience it. Sin entered because of Satan and with it, death. (Book of Wisdom 2, 23-24) ”
Indeed, right now, we experience all the hatred of Satan who seeks ever more horrendous ways to cause the destruction of men. And he uses man himself, a slave to sin, in order to carry out his plan. For example: How is it possible to push a button and kill more than 400 innocent people?! Blessed Pope John Paul II said: “to kill a human being, in whom is present the image of God, is a particularly serious sin. Only God is the master of life! ”
And he also said: “the conquest of peace at all levels is linked to the conversion of heart and a real change of life” (1-IV-03)
“The world longs for peace and has a desperate need of peace. Yet wars, conflicts, increasing violence and situations of social unrest and endemic poverty continue to reap innocent victims and to cause divisions between individuals and peoples. At times peace appears a truly unattainable goal! In a climate made cold by indifference and occasionally poisoned by hatred, how can one hope for the dawn of an era of peace, which only feelings of solidarity and of love can usher in?” (JP II, Peace is Born from the Family, World Day of Peace, 1994).
“Everyone is aware of the difficulty of this task. If it is to be effective and long-lasting, work for peace cannot be concerned merely with the external conditions of coexistence; rather, it must affect people’s hearts and appeal to a new awareness of human dignity. It must be forcefully repeated: authentic peace is only possible if the dignity of the human person is promoted at every level of society, and every individual is given the chance to live in accordance with this dignity” (JP II, Women: Teachers of Peace, Message for the world day of peace, 1995).
Therefore, this essential fragility, disorder, reversal of the order willed by the Creator and our Father, is healed only by His grace, which is bestowed by Christ’s death on the cross, who paid for our sins. Only the one who submits humbly to the light yoke of Christ, lover of man, can work effectively as a cooperator of grace and thus achieve true conversion. To walk the path of good, one must accept the grace of God and be obedient to his will; one must conquer oneself and work with a serious and determined plan to change those tendencies, attitudes, defects, vices, etc., which contribute to the chaos which destroys the human being.
Wounded by sin (we experience the movements contrary to the spirit), but saved by Christ, we have the strength to bring peace which demands constant self-control, vigilance, and foremost of all, docility to the transforming and creative power of charity.
Lent is precisely the time to return to God and to beg of Him the grace to restore the order lost due to many personal and social evils.
Amid the horror of war, we cry out: Let us overcome evil with the power of good!
Fr. Rodrigo Miranda I.V.E.
Missionary in Aleppo
Wednesday, February 13, 2013