by Madeline Labriola
Pax Christi USA National Council Member
When considering the reality of nuclear weapons which continue to threaten the entire existence of humankind it is good to get in touch with our deepest spiritual feelings and with our belief in Jesus’ call to conversion as found in the beatitudes.
As you and your peace community move forward in the nonviolent way suggested by the Back from the Brink Campaign let’s pause and consider how and why you chose this path.
There are many ways to look at this issue and for most of us who are living our lives in the Christian tradition of nonviolence it is very clear that we would be unleashing the most violent and destructive force in the universe if we should come to that point of launching even one more nuclear weapon.
The nonviolent way of life calls upon us to live in harmony with the earth and each other. It means pushing back in creative and new ways to prevent the stockpiling of more and more nukes in the name of deterrence. Even if our efforts seem meager and insignificant compared to the enormity of the problem the beauty of nonviolence lies not in its success rate but rather in granting purpose, meaning and integrity to the lives of those who practice it.
Our nonviolent efforts at convincing our government to proclaim the end to nuclear weapons must be inspired, driven and guided by spirituality. Nonviolent action without a sense of spirituality can quickly lose its focus. Thinking of the great leaders of nonviolent resistance, such as Gandhi and King, we witness good examples of leaders whose spiritual foundation was central to their calling. When faced with the darkest moments, when violence threatened their movement they remained strong and resilient in spite of dangers and uncertainty. Spirituality is the most powerful internal motor that active nonviolence can have.
Learn to recognize and respect the sacred in every person and every part of creation, including those whom we perceive as enemies. When talking to others about preventing nuclear war remember to see them as fellow human beings on the journey with us. Call upon their higher self while always showing respect and love for where they are.
If our action is inspired by love and compassion it has a spiritual value. We are not masters of this universe, we cannot foster a relationship of love while simultaneously working to become the most powerful and feared nation in the world. As Pax Christi USA, we can show the way to building a more sane and loving world. Living a prophetic life of nonviolence in our words, actions and decisions can bring us that inner peace that will sustain us through the difficult times we face.
Thomas Merton said of Gandhi “The spirit of nonviolence springs from an inner realization of spiritual unity in himself. Nonviolent action is the fruit of inner peace already achieved.”
To learn more about Pax Christi USA’s Back from the Brink campaign click here
To watch the webinar on “Local Ways to End Nuclear Weapons” click here
To see how a Pax Christi USA local group is passing a Back from the Brink resolution click here