With war raging in Ukraine and in many other countries, it’s hard to imagine a world at peace. The sights and sounds of war are brutal and overwhelming–missiles, air-raid sirens, fleeing women and children, mass graves. But like many other peacemakers, even in the face of violence and war, St. Benedict urges his followers to “seek peace and pursue it.” He’s not talking about peace as a brief respite between wars, or a breakable cease-fire, or the cowed silence won by authoritarian leaders who punish dissent. Rather, St. Benedict imagines a community where each person has dignity based solely on personhood as a child of God; each one has a voice and the right to use it. There is care by all for the good of all. An impossible dream? Maybe. But as we edge closer to the possibility of nuclear war, we know deep in our bones that we must dream peace and then, together, urgently seek and pursue it.
By Mara Faulkner, OSB