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Araqi War

A Letter from Alan
Reflecting on conversations with Jesus


Today there seems to be a lot of uncertainty and confusion amongst Christians and especially Catholics as to the Iraqi War and whether or not to support peace or war. As Christians it is important that we place Christ Our Lord and His teachings above all else, even our human loyalties just as the early church did and just as the saints and martyrs did.

When Our Lord came to earth He proclaimed peace, love and forgiveness. Today, however, many people claim the times and situation to be different. How different are they? At the time of Our Lord the Romans occupied the Holy Land. Many were killed, tortured, enslaved or oppressed by the Romans or their puppets. The Zealots and others hoped the Messiah would come and free them from this and bring them to victory over their enemies. However, Our Lord Jesus came and proclaimed peace, love and forgiveness, not force of arms. He taught this clearly:

Matthew 5:39 - ‘But I say to you offer no resistance to one who is evil. when someone strikes you on your right cheek turn the other one to him as well.’

Matthew 5:44 - ‘Love your enemies.’

Luke 7:27-29 - ‘But to you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. To the person who strikes you on one cheek offer the other as well.’

These teachings with the commandment ‘Thou Shalt not kill’ appear to be some of the hardest for people to obey or follow. Often like the Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes we make clever arguments to justify ignoring or changing our understanding of what God has said to mankind. Some claim that when The Lord chased the money changers from the temple using force He gave permission for us to use force against others. However, Our Lord did not kill these people even though with one word He could have done so. Instead He stopped the wrong they did giving them then the opportunity in the rest of their lives to reflect on His actions and words.

Some quote the Catechism teaching on a just war but the Pope has said he will not bless this war as just. There are those who look to the great Saints Thomas Aquinas and Augustine and use their words as justification for war. When Jesus Our Lord was confronted by the Jews over divorce they used the words of Moses to justify divorce. Yet Jesus replied:

Mark 10:5 - ‘Because of the hardness of your hearts he wrote you this commandment.’

Would Our Lord be saying this today to those who try to justify war by the words of Saint Thomas and St.Augustine?

The Vicar of Christ, his Holiness Pope John Paul II stated he was ‘firmly opposed to and would not bless as just’ the Iraqi war. Yet, many who claim allegiance to the Pope say that the Pope did not say the war was unjust and use this to claim it to be just or just plainly ignore his words.

Some people believe that we must respond to evil with force of arms yet, Our Lord, by example, showed mankind another way to respond to evil. When He was abused, tortured, crucified and killed Our Lord only responded in love and forgiveness. Even though the Son of God had the power of Heaven at His command and could have called on that power to destroy those who were treating Him so, He did not. Instead He gave us the example which as Christians, as imitators of Christ, we are called to follow. Our Lord gave His life in love knowing it was this that would overcome evil. He showed us that we must be prepared to do the same in our lives if we are to be like Him and that we should not respond violently to violence.

Our Lord also when He opened His arms on the cross in love opened a way for us to reach a deeper level of spirituality and higher levels of grace. In imitating Christ, Our Lord, by answering evil only with love and forgiveness, we can be lifted through the cross to a spiritual level of freedom which brings us to be grace-filled vessels of God’s merciful love. This grace frees us from the chains of fear, as now in that grace we come to understand the power of God’s sacrificial love. The power that nothing or no one can overcome. Filled with this power the fear of death is taken from us and we come to see that this life is part of our eternal life in Christ, Our Lord; that this life, though valuable, is only a moment in eternity, a moment to be lived for God so that the remainder of our eternal moments will be with Him in heaven. With this realization comes the understanding that to cling to this life is futile and that while treasuring this life we should not be afraid to lose it for Christ Our Lord. Now without this chain shackling a person to the worldly life the spiritual realm opens up as the scales fall from their spiritual sight. Now it becomes clear that even if it seems as if evil is victorious, it is not. Now one can see that even if the whole world is one day ruled by those who deny Christ this will only be short lived for the power of His victory will bring His glorious kingdom to earth regardless of the opposition to it. Now it becomes obvious God’s victory does not depend on us that, instead, we are called to be part of His victory by uniting with Him in His sacrificial love. Eyes are opened to see that if we imitate Our Lord by submitting to the all powerful will of the Father unto death, we can be lifted on the cross with Christ,Our Lord, and that then through us His grace is poured out to touch and bless many others bringing them to salvation in Him.

Today the fear of terrorism, the fear of our Muslim brothers and sisters ruling the world, the fear of evil, leads many to justify acts of war, to justify force of arms and to justify the taking of life. These fears trap many and many in fear deny themselves the opportunity that the saints and martyrs have embraced in the past, the opportunity of being lifted high in the grace of God. In denying themselves this grace they also deny others who would have been touched by that grace through them. In denying this grace pain and suffering is allowed to grow through the evil in the world that is not now confronted by the sacrificial love of the imitators of Christ.

I encourage all Christians to consider what Christ calls them to and to answer that call in becoming sacrificial lambs of love prepared to give their all for Christ in spreading His love, His peace and His forgiveness. Just as He gave His life for us proclaiming love, peace and forgiveness to all, we too must proclaim peace to the world,…not war.

May the peace of Christ be with you all.

Alan Ames


Postscript - A Lenten Message from Jesus:

"The winning of an unjust war
does not make it just."

 

 

 

Alan Ames Ministry

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