The politics of “fear” or the politics of peace

We hear a lot about the politics of anger, resentment, fear. The common element to these concepts of politics is not the common good but my good. We hear very little of a politics rooted in “ the common good.”

So for me, it is refreshing that Pope Francis’ Message for World Day of Peace chose to focus on “Good Politics and the Service of People.” He makes what, in today’s climate, unfortunately, might seem a contradictory statement when he says “One thing is certain: good politics is at the service of peace.”

He reaffirms that peace is based on respect for each person, whatever his or her background, on respect for the law and the common good, on respect for the environment entrusted to our care and for the richness of the moral tradition inherited from past generations.

How does Pope Francis understand peace?

In his own words…

“Peace, in effect, is the fruit of a great political project grounded in the mutual responsibility and interdependence of human beings. But it is also a challenge that demands to be taken up ever anew. It entails a conversion of heart and soul; it is both interior and communal; and it has three inseparable aspects:

  • peace with oneself, rejecting inflexibility, anger and impatience; in the words of Saint Francis de Sales, showing “a bit of sweetness towards oneself” in order to offer “a bit of sweetness to others”;
  • peace with others: family members, friends, strangers, the poor and the suffering, being unafraid to encounter them and listen to what they have to say;
  • peace with all creation, rediscovering the grandeur of God’s gift and our individual and shared responsibility as inhabitants of this world, citizens and builders of the future.

Conversion happens at three levels, he said: making peace with oneself by rejecting inflexibility, anger and impatience; with others, including one’s family, friends and the poor; and with all of creation, recognizing a shared responsibility to protect the world and to be “citizens and builders of the future.”

… peace can never be reduced solely to a balance between power and fear. To threaten others is to lower them to the status of objects and to deny their dignity.”

… peace is based on respect for each person, whatever his or her background, on respect for the law and the common good, on respect for the environment entrusted to our care and for the richness of the moral tradition inherited from past generations.”

An examination of conscience and program of action for Vincentians

Is it too far-fetched to think these beatitudes apply to every follower of Vincent and Louise? Read the following adaptation as an examination of conscience for the past year and grounds for commitments in the New Year…

Blessed be the Vincentian with a lofty sense and deep understanding of his role.
Blessed be the Vincentian who personally exemplifies credibility.
Blessed be the Vincentian who works for the common good and not his or her own interest.
Blessed be the Vincentian who remains consistent.
Blessed be the Vincentian who works for unity.
Blessed be the Vincentian who works to accomplish radical change.
Blessed be the Vincentian who is capable of listening.
Blessed be the Vincentian who is without fear.


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