Throughout the Lenten season, we’ll be posting reflections for holy days and Sundays. These reflections are taken from this year’s Lenten reflection booklet, The Beauty We Must Hold Fast To: Reflections for Lent 2022, which includes all-new reflections written by former Pax Christi USA General Secretaries, National Coordinators and Executive Directors. Click here to see all reflections as they are posted as well as links to other Lenten resources on our Lent 2022 webpage.
Today’s reflection is excerpted from the words and writings of Sr. Mary Evelyn Jegen, SNDdeN, who passed in 2014.
reflection for the THIRD sunday of lent, MARCH 20, 2022
by Sr. Mary Evelyn Jegen, SNDdeN
Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace
“But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!” (Lk 13:3)
For ages, we’ve been solving political conflicts by win-lose strategies. There have been about 8,000 wars in recorded history. … But we have delegitimized some forms of violence, like slavery. Now, many Christians have a hunch that the time has come for war. People are seeing that the risks of violent technology outweigh the benefits.
There is a healthy goodness in the human heart that will help us invent our way beyond this. That, in fact, is the price of survival.
Spirituality is theology in walking shoes. It’s not some esoteric idea. It’s an effort to integrate your beliefs and your life. The definition of peace spirituality is a response on the need to live in peace, which is the crying need for our time, in every culture. Our own idea of peace comes from Greek and Roman notions, and especially the Judeo-Christian idea of shalom.
We in the Christian community try to integrate peacemaking into our lives as a creative force. Jesus didn’t say ‘Blessed are the peaceful.’ He said, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers.’
Americans get so high on defense, putting weapons into space to defend ourselves against evil empires. We can become captive to a fortress mentality. And historians have written to make it sound normal. We honor war veterans for their sacrifices, but where are the statues for the peace heroes?
This is part of the search for a new human maturity. It’s based on the belief that God is good, and so we, who are made in God’s image, are good. So we can act at a higher level than we do.
- How can you repent of the violence which is so prevalent in our culture?
>> Join us on Monday, March 21, when Beatrice Parwatikar, Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace and 50th Anniversary Honorary Committee member, will read a reflection from Sr. Mary Evelyn Jegen, SNDdeN, former national coordinator of Pax Christi USA, and offer her own expansion on the readings for the third week of Lent and Sr. Mary Evelyn’s reflection. Click here for more information and to register.
ACTION: Participate in the worldwide synod taking place and raise up Pax Christi USA’s priorities of nonviolence, racial justice, the common good, and peacemaking as central aspects of the faith. Join Pax Christi International’s listening session for the U.S. and Canada on March 31 at 7:30pm EDT by clicking to register here. Join sessions with FutureChurch on Wednesdays throughout Lent by clicking here. Contact Kim Vanderheiden of Pax Christi Northern California at email@example.com to learn of a process that might fit your Pax Christi local group or state/regional chapter or watch the webinar here.
Mary Evelyn Jegen, SNDdeN was the national coordinator of Pax Christi USA from 1979-82. Sr. Mary Evelyn passed in 2014; the excerpts in this year’s Lenten booklet were chosen from her words and writings. (Today’s reflection was excerpted from an interview, South Florida Sun Sentinel, June 14, 1986.) As one of the early leaders of Pax Christi USA, she helped to shape and mold the organization into what it has become for the past 50 years. Sr. Mary Evelyn was named Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace in 1982.