A Province of Society of Jesus in South Asia Assistancy
THE TWO NUCLEAR POWERS FOR PEACE
Posted on: 4 Jun, 2019|Modified on: 1 Dec, 2014
By Ravi Bhushan Xess, S.J.
August Comte (1784) in Sociology of Religion proposed a theory that all societies will pass through three Developmental Stages namely- Theological Stage, Philosophical Stage and Scientific Stage. The Theological Stage corresponds to the dark ages because there was no place for reason but only faith. The second i.e. Philosophical stage corresponds to Metaphysical or Renaissance Ages which gave ample scope to Art, Culture and Humanities where reasons used to criticize Church and Faith. This stage further gave rise to the third stage which is known as the Scientific Stage. It stresses objectivity, neutrality, precision and measurement through ground-breaking technologies to manipulate nature and its resources. It follows the method of skepticism, hypothesis, experiments and conclusion. And this is the milieu where we all are living today. The technological era with its amplifying power has succeeded in revolutionizing the whole world into a global village. A new trend of consumerism has crept in and as an outcome it has given birth to narcissism. The anthropocentric perception has been replaced with the techno-centric perception. Human relationship has been devalued and human life is reduced to mere commodities. Amidst such an existential situation several marital relationships are getting more and more vulnerable to breakups. Scientific researches on prematurity clearly indicate towering rate in today’s generation. Undeniably today’s media is propagating elements of illicit and immoral values in the guise of socio-cultural development. These are some of the major corrosive rudiments which I feel are demeaning our inter-personal harmonious relationships with oneself, neighbours, nature and God.
An instructor once asked his fine arts students in his classroom to paint a picture on Peace. At the end he collected all the canvasses and ardently went through them one after the other. To end with his selection narrowed down to two paintings which were equally impressive, thematic and alive. The first painting depicted a calm lake surrounded by a range of sky-scraping mountains. The shore was widespread with lush greenery and a dim ray of light emanating from the setting sun on still water radiated an adept enterprise of a perfect artistic mind. The message was translucent, as the theme perfectly matched with the serenity shown at the dusk. The second painting was also similar to the first one; even so it had some amazing differences. There was a naked mountain without greenery which was overshadowed with black clouds. It was raining cats and dogs with angry thunder and lightning. There was a crevasse through which the rain water was gushing down towards the mountain foot to form a rivulet. In that same crevasse was a little nest where a mother bird with its young ones had taken a safe haven. It did not look terrified but peaceful as if it knew well that God is with them. The instructor finally decided to select the second painting as the best which was crystal clear to his intention.
I hail from Ranchi which is the capital city of Jharkhand where the political instability continues to be even in its 12th year of existence. Down the line the state has faced innumerable hiccups and hardships. When I glance at the present scenario I notice that it is getting flooded with rampant corruption, competitive ideologies, gradual erosion of communitarian values, heated communalism, spiral of violence, religious fanaticism and globalization. Unexceptionally each one of us is aware and has experienced the epidemic of corruption in our daily fares. The half of the population of the state is living below poverty line. The paranoia has affected everybody with its devastating consequences; as a result unemployment has forced the poor villagers to migrate to the metros and the Naxalite menace continues unabated. Politics without principles, wealth without work, commerce without morality, pleasure without conscience, education without character, worship without sacrifice and so on appear to be the characteristics of my dream state Jharkhand. There is a common threat to life from womb to tomb. The moral, social, political, religious and economical bankruptcy policy presented before you is nothing but a frenzied image and chaotic future of Jharkhand which I think does not inspire us to be optimistic.
Can we think of bringing Peace here on earth? If yes then how can we bring Peace here on earth? Though these two questions seem alike they differ in their nature and approach. The first question indicates on the ability or possibility in obtaining Peace here on earth. This can be answered objectively without any plausible explanation. But the second question obviously requires elucidation as it refers to different implications and executions in establishing Peace here on earth. Irrefutably the world is in need of Peace today. Bringing Peace into this world demands enormous Faith in God. It challenges our integrated spiritual life. It throws an open challenge before us to imitate Jesus Christ and his exceptional ways of loving and forgiving everyone irrespective of their caste, creed and gender. Hence Faith in God and Forgiveness are the two nuclear powers to replenish Peace on earth.
In our presuppositions we deem to understand peace as total quiescence. We equate peace with an experience of transcendental ecstasy, something unreal, intangible and heavenly, and that which is beyond the mundane realities of the world. Peace does not exclude itself from this world. Peace is the state of mind when our inner self is spiritually allied with God who is the Creator of the Universe. Human persons are the denizen of this world and as a response we try our level best to establish inter-personal harmonious relationship with oneself, neighbours, nature and God. Moreover this response is nothing but owing our gratitude and reverence towards the Creator who has created us and this world out of love. Therefore there must be no consternation, no trepidation but a total dependency which guarantees God’s everlasting providence to the entire humankind.
However human persons are prone to frailties and they have been over and over again deteriorating the harmonious bond of relationship with the Creator. Not only our Belief Systems are fatally challenged, our Faith in God also appears to be waning. In order to establish inter-personal harmonious relationship with oneself, neighbours, nature and God one needs to intensify his/her spiritual realm through faith in God alone. Faith in God is one of the nuclear powers to replenish Peace on earth. It does not refer to sheer spiritual edification of one’s life but much more than that which implies faith that does justice. The horizon of our faith and the dimension of our Christian way of living must penetrate justice in our various approaches namely- spiritualistic, relief, developmental and conscientization. Faith is central to our Christian life and it provides us with Locus Theologicus even in conflict situations (valent ut in pluribus). It is through faith we can receive the grace of total transformation. This transitional phase of transformation is tridimensional i.e. cognitive, attitudinal and behavioural. Cognitive Transformation refers to knowing and acquiring what is beyond human perception. ‘To know’ in one of the meanings in Hebrew language means sexual intercourse. Just as sexual intercourse is not abstract or absurd but involves personal experience, so also ‘to know’ involves all our senses to experience basic truths of our lives. Attitudinal Transformation refers to our understanding of people and events with great depth. It is a call to be creative in our given contexts and to anticipate the signs of the times. Behavioural Transformation refers to our conducts and actions with full knowledge and freedom (Actus homanus). With this change we become well equipped with the fruits of the Holy Spirit i.e. love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self control (Gal 5: 22-23). As a result we develop Spiritual Strength which propels us to identify ourselves as true stewards of Christ. There is an immense experience of inner peace and freedom which makes us vibrant agents of peace.
Forgiveness is another nuclear power to replenish Peace here on earth. Forgiveness without Love would mean haphazard. Both are inseparable and divine in virtue. To love our friends and to hate our foes is the basic trait of this world, but to love and forgive our enemies goes against the gravitational force of our human nature. However there are a few exceptions like those who are economically or physically weak, coward and fool. Our world is a web of relationships. However not all relationships has laid their foundation on true humanitarian ground. There are tens of thousands instances that indicate human relationships turning out to be commercialized as commodities being exchanged for cash or kind. The world believes in Newton’s third law of Motion and not in the Beatitudes of Jesus or the third degree of humility of St. Ignatius’. Jesus, who once lived in this planet, set an example that with God everything is possible. Undoubtedly there are a majority of good people who do believe in Jesus, but among them there is a huge section who considers Jesus only to be a historical figure.
There are a few real incidents on forgiveness which set motivating examples before us. Late Pope John Paul II forgave Mehmet Ali Agca who once attempted to kill him in St. Peter’s Square. The Pope had once visited him in his prison and presented him a silver rosary. Embracing him he asked everyone to pray for his friend Mehmet. This symbolic gesture of Pope was more powerful than any other verbal actions of forgiving enemies. Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for twenty years in South Africa for leading his people against Apartheid. After his release he forgave all those who had tortured him. I remember I came across a news report in the local dailies last year which had stirred me up. Mrs. Sunita Induwar, a widow forgave all the assassinators who had kidnapped her husband Mr. Francis Induwar, the Inspector of Khunti Police Station from Khunti Hembrom market in a broad daylight on 30th September and brutally murdered him on 9th October, 2011.
I was forced to reflect on how is it possible to forgive others for their heinous act. Persons those who are able to forgive others definitely draw inspiration from Jesus who has set the greatest example of Love and forgiveness before us. The Gospel of St. Luke 23:34 “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” explicitly pays witness to this greatest truth. I equate our Lenten season with one of the spiritual practices found in Jainism. This spiritual practice is performed every year which is known as Pratikramma. There is a ceremonial rite known as Dashalakhsna for ten days prior to Pratikramma. In this duration all the believers come together for the common repentance and reconciliation. They ask pardon and forgiveness from each other for their unhealthy behaviours, misconducts and evil actions. Hence by this annual spiritual practice they re-establish a harmonious inter-personal relationship with oneself, neighbours, nature and God.
Can we also not forgive others like those who have forgiven their enemies for their extreme atrocities? Our deep Faith in God alone can only transform us to dispose of our old selves. In the new self we are then able to identify ourselves with Christ and his exceptional ways of Loving and forgiving everyone irrespective of whatsoever differences. We can then restore the harmonious inter-personal relationship which we have had received it long back as an endowment from our Creator. I am sure with this we can heal the wounds and bring Peace into this fragmented world.
Ravi Bhushan Xess, S.J.