Spirituality of Nonviolence

This weekend I attended a Peace and Justice Retreat at the St. Francis Springs Prayer Center in Stoneville, North Carolina. The retreat was sponsored by Holy Name Province of the Order of Friars Minor. We used principles developed by Pace Bene. I’ll write and react more to what I experienced but I wanted to post some of this material.

A Decalogue for a Spirituality of Nonviolence

by Rosemary Lynch and Alain Richard
Nonviolence invites us:

  • To learn to recognize and respect the sacred in every person, including in ourselves, and in every part of creation. The acts of the nonviolent person help to free this sacredness in the opponent from obscurity or captivity.
  • To accept oneself deeply, “who I am” with all my gifts and richness, with all my limitations, errors, failings and weaknesses. To live in the truth of ourselves, without excessive pride, with fewer delusions and false expectations.
  • To recognize that what I resent, and perhaps even detest, in another, comes from my difficulty in admitting that this same reality lives also in me. To recognize and renounce my own violence, which becomes evident when I begin to monitor my words, gestures, reactions.
  • To renounce dualism, the “we-they” mentality. This divides us into “good people/bad people” and allows us to demonize the adversary. It is the root of authoritarian and exclusivist behavior. It generates racism and makes possible conflicts and wars.
  • To face our fear and to deal with it with love as well as courage.
  • To understand and accept that the New Creation, the building up of the Beloved Community is always carried forward with others. It is never a “solo act.” This requires patience and the ability to pardon.
  • To see ourselves as a part of the whole creation to which we foster a relationship of love, not of mastery, remembering that the destruction of our planet is a profoundly spiritual problem, not simply a scientific or technological one. We are one.
  • To be ready to suffer, perhaps even with joy, if we believe this will help liberate the best within the other. This includes the acceptance of our place and moment in history with its trauma, with its ambiguities.
  • To be capable of celebration, of joy, when transformations occur, when one sees the connection she or he had not seen before.
  • To slow down, to be patient, planting the seeds of love and forgiveness in our own hearts and in the hearts of those around us. Slowly we will grow in love, compassion and the capacity to forgive.

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