Seasonal Reflection:  Ordinary Time, Late Summer - Fall 2020

by Rosemarie Pace

Reflecting on Peace 

The liturgical season of Ordinary Time continues until Advent, but the
extraordinary also continues in this remarkable year of 2020. As of this
writing covid-19 continues to plague the country and the planet, and a
blast in Beirut, Lebanon is being compared to the atomic bombing of
Hiroshima. Actually both are useful comparisons in that they provide a
lesson if we are open to learning it.

Covid-19 is global as would a nuclear attack be. It is devastating to
people’s health and the economy, but it is nothing compared to a nuclear
war, even a “small” one. The explosion in Beirut may leave a portion of
the city looking like Hiroshima after the atomic bombing and may have
killed thousands and injured more, but it is nothing compared to a
nuclear holocaust.

The radiation from a nuclear assault will spread across the globe and
destroy everything in its path, some things quickly, some slowly, but
everything will be affected from the weather to food production, from
air and water quality to health. So, like covid-19, a nuclear conflict
will cross the globe and sicken and kill, and like the blast in Beirut, it will flatten buildings and maim and rob people of their lives, but it
will do both to a far greater extent and for decades or longer, not months or years.

This is not to make light of covid-19 or the explosion in Beirut, but it is to say that if we think, as we should, that these two things are
horrific, then we better be far more attentive to abolishing nuclear weapons, because what we see from the pandemic and the blast in Beirut
will be multiplied exponentially should we continue to be complacent about nuclear weapons.

Closer to home and to today, Pax Christi Metro New York (PCMNY) is also going through its own unusual, if not extraordinary, time. For the first
time in decades, PCMNY will not have full-time staffing or a full-time office. Our Director of 20 years has retired. PCMNY will now be managed
by our Office Coordinator, Elda Luisi, who will be working part-time. This means greater reliance on our dedicated Board, Committees, and
Volunteers. With things like a pandemic and deadly explosions, at least partially due to human negligence, we need movements like Pax Christi
more than ever.

Clearly we are living through a time of change, and change can be very challenging, but it can also be invaluable. Even scripture assures us of
that. In Ecclesiastes 3:1, we read, “To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven.” Let us pray that we use this
time well for good and not evil, for life and not death.

 



Prayer

 

“New World Order” by Elizabeth Clark, S.S.J.

Today bursts forth with dawn and I stand before You in awe.
There is a whole new day begging for Your touch.
A touch of truth, a touch of tenderness
Break through our illusions.

Give us new insight.
Help us to recognize that “order” does not mean “control.”
Rather, it could mean we learn new ways to find each other,
To gaze into each other’s eyes and see there the beauty of a sister or a
brother.

New ways unfold before us.
We no longer need to keep apart.
Enemies bow before each other.
Tears bathe the wounds of war.
Hatred softens into harmony and greed into generosity.

(from Prayers for a New World Order, Paulist Press, 1994)

 

 



Suggested Actions

  •  

  • - In response to the pandemic, consider healthful practices, not just wearing a mask and keeping physical (not social) distance, but also
    exercising, eating well, and sleeping well.


    - In response to the tragedy of Beirut and other worldwide tragedies, pray, learn what might be needed from a reliable charity and contribute,
    and find out if there’s a Lebanese community nearby that could use emotionally support.

    - In response to nuclear weapons, learn all you can about their devastating power, their history and contemporary status. Books and
    articles abound on the topic. One suggestion is Almighty: Courage, Resistance, and Existential Peril in the Nuclear Age by Dan Zak. Learn
    about the organizations working to abolish nuclear weapons and work with them, including Pax Christi. Urge your Congress people to support the
    signing and ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

    - Recognize that change happens and can be good. Think about good things that have come from changes in your life, even if the changes seemed
    frightening at the time. Keep in touch with family and friends for support, diversion, and companionship.

  • And don't forget to join and stay on top of things through PCMNY’s email action alert network and online at our: website, Facebook page, and Twitter account.

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Reflection Archives

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