Sunday, November 08, 2009

Blessed are the Peacemakers--Nonviolence Training Retreat

For the Lord says, "Blessed are the peacemakers." Now a peacemaker is one who gives peace to another. But we cannot give another what we do not possess ourselves. Thus the Lord wants you first to be yourself filled with the blessings of peace, and then to communicate it to those in need of peace.

-St. Gregory of Nyssa, Sermon 7 on the Beatitudes

With this in mind, the Columbus Catholic Worker--in partnership with the newly formed chapter of Pax Christi--are hosting an all-day Nonviolence Training workshop. In order to be peacemakers, we must first cultivate peace on all levels of our being.

Facilitators from the Michigan Peace Team will be leading us from 9am until 5pm on Saturday, December 12th. Please RSVP to the contact info on the right hand side if you would like to attend! Lunch will be served. There is no cost, but donations are always welcome.

The training itself will cover a lot of ground, including these topics, taken from their website:

  • Experience the transforming power of nonviolence for oneself and society;

  • Learn about and practice skills for nonviolent peacemaking;

  • Learn of domestic & international violence reduction peacemaking efforts and opportunities for volunteering on projects;

  • Experience working together with others as a peace team.

They train groups from everything from nonviolent communication and consensus-building strategies for families and neighborhoods all the way to preparing groups for protests, acts of civil disobedience and for people who go off into war-torn parts of the world to be peacemakers.

Topics include working with hate groups, racial injustice, mechanisms for social change, nonviolent communication, etc. This training that we are having will not have a specific focus, so any and all topics can be covered. It is a great training for any people working for social change.

Please check the link above for other exciting components of the training, too numerous to mention here!

The Holy Trinity is peace itself. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three persons who are together as one Triune God. They are the living example of peace since they are diversity of persons united in perfect harmony. So indeed, Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. And why is this? As this website says: "By imitating God's love of man, the peacemakers become children of God."

Take it away, St. Gregory of Nyssa:

Those who imitate God's love for human beings show forth in their own life the characteristics of the Divine Life. The Lord and Giver of good things completely annihilates anything that is foreign to goodness. This work He ordains also for you: to cast out hatred and abolish war, to exterminate envy and banish strife, to take away hypocrisy and extinguish from within the resentment of injuries smoldering in the heart.

Instead, you ought to introduce whatever is contrary to the things that have been removed. For as light follows the departure of darkness, these evil things are replaced by the fruits of the Spirit, by charity, joy, peace, goodness, generosity, and all the good things enumerated by Paul.

How, then, should we not be blessed, when we act as dispensers of the Divine gifts, since we imitate the gifts of God and model our own good deeds on the Divine munificence?

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