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VIOLENCE IS MAN-MADE AND CAN BE MAN-UNMADE

19 December 2016 No Comment

VIOLENCE IS MAN-MADE AND CAN BE MAN-UNMADE
Father John Walsh

Violence has its many triggers. Fear, frustration, alienation, isolation, poverty, to name a few that lead to anger and eventually to violence. Violence is a symptom of what ails us the most but it has become systemic and culturally acceptable. We are not hard-wired to be violent; we are hard-wired to be empathic. What is man-made can be man-unmade. We must take the steps necessary to avoid the development of anger and there ae several ways to overcome anger. As a young priest I can recall one night when a fellow-priest angered me with his statements of untruth about me. I was fit to be tied. A friend sat me down over a scotch and said to me: He is isn’t even thinking about you and you are mad at him, does that make any sense? I sat back and felt a weight life off my shoulders. That one experience has helped me whenever I would think of becoming angry. He isn’t even thinking about me. Calm replaces what I don’t want to happen, and since then I know what I want. The calm we need needs to be nourished through mediation. Taking time to empty ourselves of all at preoccupies us makes all that preoccupies us less important, and when you mediate regularly you realize the preoccupations matter very little compared to the piece and deep joy you can maintain through your life. I use a mantra during my mediation and repeating the word over and over allows the dissipation of what could have controlled me thoughts all during the day. The fruit of meditation is mindfulness in the present moment which allows for concentration on what is at hand that needs to be thought through or to be done. It is amazing how we can accept being imperfectly-perfect human beings. The result is a sense of contentment that translates into a down-to-earth happiness which keeps our feet on the ground and opens us to accept other human beings for who they are, they are just like us. The greatest joy there is in life is to love and be loved. I know from the number of couples who have come to me to witness their marriages that relationships begin with a lot of talk about likes and dislikes, but after a couple have shared who they really are, they are content to go on long walks together, holding hands, and not uttering a word. Violence which is so prevalent in family homes can be avoided when the day begins in silence, in thinking-time, in meditation, in empting oneself, and whatever ma have brought to light during the day, resolves to end the day in silence, as a couple and as a family. The last half hour before bed-time there should be no television, no music, nothing but being present to each other. Man-made can be man-unmade. This year we celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas together in a world that has reached a tipping-point of violence against religious communities and, if we are to believe the statistics Christians are the most persecuted communities in the world. At Hanukkah the oil for the lams, for eight days, never ran out and I am sure each day there was awe and silence. At Christmas the Magi brought gold, frankincense and myrrh and kneeling in silence they placed the gifts before the child in the manger. All moments of incredible reverence and awe are moments that provoke profound silence in which we learn our greatest lessons.

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