The United Nations has designated 21 September the International Day of Peace. In this CatholicCare reflection I look at ways in which we can cultivate a culture of peace.
How can We Cultivate a Culture of Peace?
Sometimes it seems that the whole world has gone crazy: passenger planes shot out of the sky; schools and hospitals shelled; people expelled from their home countries because of their religion; intentionally cruel policies towards people in need, including children. We can feel overwhelmed and helpless. We may be tempted to succumb to what Pope Francis has called a ‘culture of indifference’ -blocking out the pain of it all and avoiding any sense of responsibility to respond.
What can you, and I, and CatholicCare Sydney, do about any of this?
We may not broker a peace deal for the Middle East, but we can contribute to building up a culture of peace. Every time we model respect for the dignity and rights of those whom our society pushes to the margins, every time we teach skills for respectful and nonviolent relationships, every time we advocate for polices that address the needs of those who are the most vulnerable, we are cultivating a culture of peace.
Nurturing habits of respect for the dignity and rights of others, concern for the common good, and solidarity grounded in knowing that we are all sisters and brothers are all ways of cultivating a culture of peace. This is part of our mission to be the liberating presence of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, in our troubled world.
At all levels of relationship, listening to the needs and perspectives of others, dialogue, and cooperation can replace conflict and violence. These are all part of the CatholicCare person centered approach.
September 21 is designated by the United Nations as the International Day of Peace. Perhaps that will be a good day to stop for a few minutes and reflect on how your work currently contributes to a culture of peace, and how else it might do so.