Yesterday’s horrific events in Charlottesville, Virginia remind us that our internal desires for peace, civility, and humanness often fall far short because of our overwhelming propensity towards dismissal and inaction.
For some, such as the protesting, domestic, neo-nazi and other terrorists – for that’s exactly what they are – their open and pointed display of hatred is as obvious as it is evil. Their vicious rejection of the things of God, of country, of themselves, is easily condemned, and easily viewed as distinguishable from the rest of us. Can there be any doubt that their hearts, unlike ours, are dead, their minds warped, their souls lost?
What happened in Charlottesville is abject evil in one of its purest forms.
But what about the rest of us?
Do I, for example, truly desire peace and civility and humanness as much as I may claim that I do? And, if so, on whose terms? My own? On God’s?
What have I undertken in my life to work towards genuine peace, true understanding, complete forgiveness?
Thomas Merton, gone now nearly 50 years, still speaks to me today with much relevance:
If men really wanted peace they would sincerely ask God for it and He would give it to them. But why should He give the world a peace which it does not really desire? The peace the world pretends to desire is really no peace at all.
To some men peace merely means the liberty to exploit other people without fear of retaliation or interference. To others peace means the freedom to rob others without interruption. To still others it means the leisure to devour the goods of the earth without being compelled to interrupt their pleasures to feed those whom their greed is starving.
And to practically everybody peace simply means the absence of any physical violence that might cast a shadow over lives devoted to the satisfaction of their animal appetites for comfort and pleasure.
While I hope and pray that my heart, mind, and soul are not grounded in evil, my conscious and unconscious actions, both, can ultimately lead me down the same warped path if I don’t pay constant attention.
I must remain vigilant, sensitive, and aware of evil in all its many duplicitous forms.
And then act.
Pray for Charlottesville, pray for healing, pray for me.
Image Credit: Pixabay (Not From Charlottesville)