Support those who seek peace
Like all of you, I have been deeply saddened and disturbed by the terrible acts of violence whichå have claimed the lives and hearts of too many of our brothers and sisters. We have witnessed random acts of violence, escalation of domestic abuse, the treacherous influence of drugs, the slaughter of law enforcement officials, the total disregard of the worth of the human person.
Children have lost parents, parents have lost children and the widowed mourn the loss of their hearts. Friends lose friends to the shadows of memories, and we are all lesser for the loss. The darkness of the human heart reigns in this culture of death in our midst. Some among us suffer afflictions of mind and spirit, leading them to acts of violence. We need much prayer and healing.
This darkness calls forth heroes who respond with courage in the midst of fear. We can never adequately express our appreciation of those who have chosen to wear the mantle of heroism. But with the Father’s grace we can all be heroes. Transformed by His mercy, we are empowered to choose the honorable way, the challenging way of peace, rather than surrender to the easily available violent solution.
So many of us are discouraged. Some of us are paralyzed by fear. Many of us remember what it was like during the Cold War to hide under desks to seek protection. We can no longer hide. As Catholics, as Christians, as people of faith, all of us, must decide to work together for peace. Our beloved children should expect nothing less. Our loving Father expects nothing less.
It is our divine mission to embrace those who have been victimized by violence of any sort. It is our sacred duty to treasure the integrity of God’s creation. Maybe we do not have all the answers, but that should not stop us from trying. He walks with us. He cries out with us.
Many times in the news reports we hear people saying, “All we can do is pray”. Well, then, we pray and pray again. We must also act. We must decide not to choose violence, realizing that even violent speech gives rise to violent actions and is an example which gives rise to bullying in our young people. We must no longer model violence to those who will lead us to the kingdom.
We must support every effort to be a people of peace.
We call upon The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Peace, to wrap us in a cloak of peace to envelop a broken world.
I remain your servant and shepherd,
Most Reverend Michael Jarrell
Bishop of Lafayette