From Fr John Dear: (http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/08/31-2)
Where is God for you in this journey and work for peace?
I couldn’t do this work without faith in God. Two quotations are dear to me: First, from Isaiah 2: “They shall beat their swords into plowshares and study war no more.” The other is from Ezekiel: “Hearts of stone have to turn into hearts of flesh.” I’ve come to believe through prayer and bible study about God’s presence in the heart of the earth. People need to change their hearts before they can change anything else. God is love, but unless we can love each other, we can’t know God. We can learn about ourselves and our own hearts of stone as we reach out in love toward others. Even though things don’t change right away, and we’re not immediately effective, it does happen. It just takes time. Change has to come from ordinary, vulnerable people at the bottom, because the power structure is not going to do it.
Just before he died, Phil Berrigan wrote in his last public letter on the need to “embrace our powerlessness.” As we do, we become agents for the power of God to work among us. So we have to deny the self, take up the cross and follow. I recall too how St. Paul wrote about the Spirit groaning within the earth. That spirit gives us power and prays through us. That means a lot to me right now. Even when I feel I can’t pray, all I have to do is be aware of the Spirit and try to let it lead me.
What are you learning these days as you face cancer?
I’m learning more about powerlessness. I’m learning to let go, to be detached. I’ve been upheld by our elderly sisters who pray for me and support me, and that power of prayer is very real to me. I feel it. So I’m learning again that God does the work, not us.
What advice do you have for those who care about peace, justice, nonviolence and disarmament?
I remember Liz McAlister saying once, “Whatever issue you work on is connected to all the other issues.” That means, we have to go deep into the heart of our issue. Also, people should try to join or form a community for this work of justice and peace. We want the world to become a community, and it’s hard, so we have to try to do that ourselves. And we want to form a community conscience that can take a stand on these critical issues. We need other people to help us. With others, we can reflect together on how to resist, and take action that comes from a place of prayer and faith and depth.
What gives you hope?