Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Quest

     Since Pope Paul VI designated January 1st as a Day of Prayer for Peace, the Church has been focusing on and praying for peace at the beginning of each new year.  The effort arises from the dark and destructive effects of sin in the human condition that leads to hatred and violence, war and injustice, a lack of respect for human life and most especially a rejection of the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ.  There has even been harm done in the name of the Prince of Peace.  And on this day when we honor the woman who gave him to us, the woman who has been entrusted to us as our mother, as we honor Mary, we once again accept the quest to seek peace.  We are her children because we are the children of God.  As Matthew reminds us in the Beatitudes, the children of God are known as peacemakers.

     What came to mind today, though, is the story of Don Quixote, the Man of La Mancha, who accepts a noble quest to establish noble qualities in man that were lost.  He sets out on his quest, mocked and ignored, seeking that "impossible dream".  He is willing to "march into hell for a heavenly cause".  There are times when we feel a little like the man of La Mancha in our quest for a change of heart within individuals and societies.  There are times when our efforts and our prayers for peace may seem like an "impossible dream".  But unlike this fictional character, who followed his imagination as he tilted at windmills, we follow a Lord and Savior who IS peace, who BRINGS peace through his sacrifice, and who invites us TO BE peacemakers - not in make-believe or as searchers of the impossible - but as agents of change and a source of transforming strength and power.  We must witness to Christ Jesus ... we must stand for those who are warred upon ... we must protect the innocent.  We must renew our prayers for peace and our efforts to broker peace, for the very future of this world.  And if we suffer or are ridiculed for this, then remember the last words of the song "The Impossible Dream" ---

"And the world will be better for this
that one man, scorned and covered with scars
still strove with his last once of courage
to reach the unreachable star." 

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