Sunday 4th Dec we were fortunate to have two visitors
from overseas to share with us their journey in
Pace Bene and give us a short workshop on ways
Laura Slattery and
Veronica Pelicaric first shared a little of their
Laura is living
in California. She had been brought up in a Catholic
family where the value of service
was important. As there was no money for her
attend college she joined the armed services. She had volunteered to serve
in Iraq at the time of the first attack against that country. However she
was sent to Hawaii and then on return she lived
with five pacifists. They were
able to share the concepts each had of the other Laura spent time in El
Salvador and it was there she came to realise that
yes, service was important but
so was Justice. She was educated in non-violence
and sees that in a world where
we are surrounded by violence, it is important to practise non-violence
to counteract the violent world we live in.
Veronica lives in
Canada. Her heritage was part Croatian. She spent
her childhood in Argentina and was educated in
an English school. She went
to college in
USA and then spent 3yrs in Brazil in a Spiritual Centre. It was a very
monastic style of living, having very little contact with the world.
She sensed that
somehow there needed to be both spirituality and Social Justice. One
of the events that happened in Argentina was that
her friends kept disappearing
and it was this which started questions in her mind. She went to Canada
involved in Healing work that she felt she had a gift for. It was there,
in a Cree Indian community she saw such violence that she decided to
work in non-violence.
She is the Latin American Trainer in “From Violence to Wholeness”
We began asking
the question, “How do we change?”
How do I act more
non-violently in my daily life and bring about
Truth passes through
- Often there
is ridicule. ‘Don’t be silly you can’t change
- Then comes
- Then what
has been said becomes self-evident.
It is about staying
with the process of all stages.
Violence shows who
is the strongest but doesn’t bring about non-violence.
Pace Bene, relationship is seen as fundamental
to the process of
coming to non-violence.
Loosely translated Pace Bene
means Peace and Wellness. There
staff of 7.
They see themselves
as a community exploring more
deeply non-violence and sharing
There will soon be
a website to use - www.pacebene.org
Ghandi says, “We all have a piece
of the truth."
We were then given a copy of The
Decalogue for a Spirituality of Non violence. (Rosemary
Lynch, OSF and Alain Richard, OFM)
Active violence calls us:
To learn to
recognize and respect “ the sacred”( : that
of God” as the Quakers say) in every person,
including in ourselves, and in every piece
of Creation. The acts of the non-violent person
help to free this Divine 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, and to realize that I am accepted
by God. To live in the truth of ourselves,
without excessive pride, with fewer delusions
and false expectations.
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.
dualism, the “we-they” mentality (Manicheism).
This divides us into “ good people/bad people”
and allows us to demonize the adversary. It
is the root of authoritarian and exclusivist
behaviour. It generates racism and makes possible
conflicts and wars.
To face fear
and to deal with it not mainly with courage
but with love.
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 Divine in others.
This includes the acceptance of our place and
moment in history with its trauma, with its
To be capable
of celebration, of joy, when the presence of
God has been accepted, and when it has not
been to help discover and recognize this fact.
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.
Into his world, this
demented inn, in which there is absolutely no room
for him at
all, Christ has come uninvited. But because he
cannot be at home in it, because he is out of place
in it, and yet must be in it, his place is with
those others for whom there is no room … His place
is with those who are discredited, who are denied
the status of persons, who are tortured, bombed,
and exterminated. With those for whom there is
no room, Christ is present in the world. he is
mysteriously present in those for whom there seems
to be nothing but the world at its worst.
to Birth 2005
We are at the beginning of a journey that takes us
to the arrival of one who has lived a life of TRUTH
and COMPASSION. This message comes in the form
of a tiny baby and in the first stage of pregnancy
this tiny life of Jesus is able to float around
in his mother’s womb, there being plenty of space
– What Bliss! However, Jesus encountered many other
situations in his life that were far from blissful
and they started from birth when there was “no
room at the inn”. However, with courage his parents
carried on as did Jesus in his future years. Aboriginal
people face and continue to face such challenges
and survive! Refugees are still struggling and
many others are turned away.
We pray today that in the face of closed doors we
will BE AWAKE to FIND ROOM for truth and compassion,
and if we can’t find it, we will make it – for ourselves
and others: IN THIS COUNTRY, OUR COMMUNITY, AND IN
OUR HEARTS AND MINDS.
In this 2nd week of Advent we continue our
journey with the theme of there ‘being no room’.
is fitting at this stage of Mary’s pregnancy since
the baby Jesus has grown and there is less room
in the womb for him. The boundaries of the
closing in on Jesus. In his adult life this was
a tragic reality to the point of death and
in our world
today we are all too aware of the boundaries around
others and us. Those who take all the power, continue
to shut out the ones who have so little. WHY DO
WE LIVE LIKE THIS? – TO BE POOR WHEN TOGETHER
BE RICH – RICH WITH THE BOUNTIFULNESS OF THIS EARTH
THAT HAS BEEN GIVEN FOR ALL NOT JUST A FEW.
In our 3rd week of Advent there is even less
room for the baby Jesus in Mary’s womb and
of fullness for Mary. Her body begins to swell
as her baby
grows, perhaps with fluid also.
We have heard over the weeks of there ‘being
no room’ because of too much power by those
who shut others out. We have heard about
finding a way despite
and yet STAYED AWAKE.
We can shut others
out to ensure that we have enough, and justify
it with the admission of guilt believing that God
forgives an abuse of such a belief.
we can allow ourselves to be confronted by our fear and lack of faith
to experience being lost.
As Lawrence Freeman
says, “The loosing is necessary although the finding
shows us that
what was lost was not really lost. The joy
we see described
in the resurrection appearances
people realizing this. ‘Don’t look for him among the dead. Here he
is –See.’ A contemplative activity must be
practiced that will penetrate the spirit.
It is the otherness of the person we love that is the very field
in which we find
Jesus and in which we loose and find ourselves. True forgiveness
embraces the hurt and shadow. Loosing and finding
together form the whole truth
And so today we
can begin to rejoice in anticipation of the message
of hope that John the Baptist spoke of i.e. of being set free;
the poor receiving good news and the integrity and praise springing
up in the life of the eternal truth.