The document we are presenting here is the fruit of the reflections of the Spanish-American Volunteers of God on peace.
The virtual meeting of the Spanish-speaking Volunteers of God was held on October 28. This meeting gave rise to an interesting exchange on peace and how to build it. Here we share with you the reflections of our Volunteers.
Cecilia, from Ecuador, Edelmira, from Colombia, and Eliana, from Peru, agree that in order to spread peace among our brothers and sisters and those around us, we must first establish peace on a personal level, and this comes with prayer. They believe that if we are united in prayer, we will be able to change the injustices experienced in the world today.
Marilyn, from Miami, says that the Volunteers of God have such a special spirituality that one of their attitudes to life is to be peacemakers. For this reason, we need to live peace in our daily lives in a more responsible way, mainly by example. And to achieve this, it is important to establish peace first and foremost in our families, with our children, our grandchildren, our colleagues at work - in short, with all the people we meet on a daily basis. And this peace must be lived out in action, by helping our neighbours, without useless complaints or destructive criticism, by being of service every day.
Mariela, from Houston, says that Pope Francis talks to us about listening. He says that this can be done with humility and therefore in a charitable way. These actions will surely help to build peace in the world. And if, in addition, we are humble, if we know how to listen to others without trying to impose ourselves, then we will be true sowers of peace, and we will live the charity of Christ in the present moment.
Patsy, from Spain, says that prayer can indeed help to build peace. But she also believes that conflicts exist because we don't respect each other. We don't respect the beliefs of others, because we don't value the other and want to impose ourselves. She also points out that Pope Francis' message insists that we must all accept each other, that the Church calls everyone and that no one should be left outside.
Patsy continues her reflection by saying that this attitude of imposition and lack of respect for others is a far cry from the teachings of Jesus, a far cry from the example of the Good Samaritan who reaches out to others and helps them without worrying about their beliefs, and a far cry from our attitudes to life, through which we always seek to see the presence of the living God in our neighbour.
Esther, invites us not to forget that we are called to be peacemakers by setting an example. We must strive to establish peace in our family, among our colleagues at work and in our community. To do this, we need the people around us to see the efforts we are making to build a path of peace. We cannot claim that it is important to respect others if, by the way we act, we are unable to show respect for those who think differently from us.
We were reminded of a lovely metaphor shared by Oblate Réjeanne Mathieu: "We have two ears, but only one mouth". This means that nature itself shows us that we need to listen more and speak less. This is a concrete way of building peace.
To sum up, the Spanish-speaking American Volunteers of God believe that peace is the fruit of prayer. It leads us to live as peacemakers who, as Father Parent taught, seek to focus on the positive aspects of our neighbour and patiently try to detect the qualities and gifts of others. This will enable them to value their brothers and sisters by avoiding useless complaints and destructive criticism, and will lead them to become a person of service who always perceives the presence of God in their neighbour.
Coordinator of Volunteers of God