From Bruce Baumgartner’s Oblate Day presentation:
When the invitation to speak on peace came I immediately thought of my
first spiritual teacher, Peace Pilgrim. She has been a profound influence on
my life. Next I remembered the times I worked for justice, stood for peace.
You can’t have peace without justice, the two go together. I also learned
something new when I entered into a period of listening. However this week I
became a little torn as to what to speak about with economic injustice all
But I must say a few words about the remarkable Peace Pilgrim. Peace Pilgrim
was a penniless pilgrim who walked over 25,000 miles on foot for peace. What
she had on her back was all she owned. She walked until given shelter,
fasted until given food. She spoke before the United Nations and at the
White House where she proposed a Department for Peace. Peace Pilgrim spoke
to all kinds of people on the way of peace. She said the way to world peace
was through inner peace and inner peace comes about through a transformation
of heart and mind, like found in the bible and monasticism.
In recalling Peace Pilgrim’s 28 year journey I became puzzled about
I remembered people like Gandhi, M.L. King and the many people murdered or
martyred in Central and South America and through out the world. I wondered
if after all of this effort and sacrifice if we failed because the world
does not seem any more peaceful. So I listened, and eventually I gathered
that whenever anyone works for justice, stand for peace, they put a crack in
the wall of oppression. Eventually with enough cracks the wall comes down
like the Berlin wall and the Peace of God reigns or shines brighter in the
world. I realized I had been looking at the situation with human eyes, eyes
of success and reward and that isn’t God’s way. God looks for change and
this brought me right back to Peace Pilgrim and the transformation of the
heart and mind.
When I heard about our bailout of AIG and their $440k retreat with $1,000. a
night rooms and spa treatment, I wondered how will we respond to this
economic injustice?! What will it take for peace lovers to get off the couch
and become peace makers?! Peace lovers don’t do anything. They stay hidden,
they stay silent. Peace makers roll up their sleeves and are willing to work
Our European friends and our Latino brothers and sisters are a little ahead
of us in voting with their feet. They have peacefully mobilized 250k, 500k.
750k or even more people to oppose injustice. They have camped out for weeks
until oppression crumbled and justice was restored. We are beginning to see
it with our current economic situation. Some Senators have reported
receiving in one week 20k email, phone calls or letters regarding the
bailout. Each person must listen to see how they are being called to respond
to injustice, how to be peace makers, how to fulfill our call to be children
of God. I invite everyone to engage in a period of listening.