Thursday, September 30, 2010

On Courage and Fear

On the Matter of Fear and Fears. Former Asst. Treasury Secretary, Paul Craig Roberts, last year wrote that "Fear rules" in America since 2001. Naomi Wolf in 2007 wrote a warning about an America which she saw as possibly moving in the direction of 'fascism,' even drawing paralells to the rise of Nazi power in the 1930's.

Dr. Robert Bowman
recently spoke of "Halliburton concentration camps" constructed he said to detain antiwar dissenters in the USA. What are the facts about such detention centers? William John Cox, Online Journal, addresses the matter in this 2008 piece.

We hope nothing of the kind happens, but the courageous in every age have always been well acquainted with different kinds of fears and concerns, because courage and fears are not opposites. But these are not paralysed by it. They believe in some things greater than fear, and they love enough to pass through it.

Some concerns turn out to be exaggerated, some justified; yet Truth abides forever.

A young Dorothy Day knew fear. She became inactive, according to David Adams, for many years after her jail experience, and although she does not describe the process ithat went on in herself, she describes it vividly in her former husband Forster who later left her:

He personally had not been in jail, but his rage at the system which confined political agitators to jail ate into him. And yet he did nothing but enclose himself into a shell, escape out on the bay with his fishing, find comfort in digging for clams or bait, or seek refuge in tending a garden. ---David Adams, Psychology for Peace Activists, Advocate Press, New Haven CT, 1987

An aged Dorothy Day awaiting arrestDorothy Day overcame the fear, in and through Christ, Who was also a prisoner. While it is never easy, Love overcomes the world and says, as Jesus did from the cross, 'Father, forgive them, they not know what they do."

Lord, we are afraid, help us to overcome our fear.

--->J. Edgar Hoover had no doubts about Dorothy Day. "Even before World War II he insisted that she be placed in custodial detention (jail) in the event of a national emergency.

 Pope Benedict XVI on Nonviolence

It could be expected that, when God came to earth, he would be a man of great power, destroying the opposing forces; that he would be a man of powerful violence as an instrument of peace. Not at all! He came in weakness. He came with only the strength of love, totally without violence, even to the point of going to the cross. This is what shows us the true face of God: that violence never comes from God, never helps bring anything good, but is a destructive means and not the path to escape difficulties. He is thus a strong voice against every type of vio- lence. He strongly invites all sides to renounce violence, even if they feel they are right...This is Jesus’ true message: seek peace with the means of peace and leave violence aside.
-- Pope Benedict XVI, April 22, 2011

“The truth is that it is impossible to interpret Jesus as violent. Violence is contrary to the Kingdom of God. It is an instrument of the Antichrist”-- Angelus lecture, Vatican, 3/11/2012

“Jesus—the King of the universe—did not come to bring peace to the world with an army, but through refusing violence. This way is the one followed not only by the disciples of Christ, but by many men and women of good will, courageous witnesses of nonviolence.”--- “Pontiff Calls for Peace Workers,: 3/29/2009---

“What Jesus teaches in the Sermon on the Mount, he now does [in His Passion]: he does not offer violence against violence, as he might have done, but puts an end to violence by transforming it into love. Violence is defeated by love. This is the fundamental transformation upon which all the rest is based. It is the true transformation which the world needs and which alone can redeem the world.”--- Eucharist, Communion Solidarity (2002)

‘Love your enemies’ (Luke 6:27; Mt 5:44) was something of a “manifesto” presented to everyone, which Christ asked his disciples to accept, thus proposing to them in radical terms a model for their lives. But what is the meaning of his teaching? Why does Jesus ask us to love our very enemies, that is, ask a love that exceeds human capacities? What is certain is that Christ’s proposal is realistic...This page of the Gospel is rightly considered the “magna carta” of Christian nonviolence; it does not consist in surrendering to evil—as claims a false interpretation of “turn the other cheek” (Luke 6:29)—but in responding to evil with good (Romans 12:17-21), and thus breaking the chain of injustice. It is thus understood that nonviolence, for Christians, is not mere tactical behavior but a person’s way of being, the attitude of one who is convinced of God’s love and power, who is not afraid to confront evil with the weapons of love and truth alone. Loving the enemy is the nucleus of the “Christian revolution,” a revolution not based on strategies of economic, political or media power. God does not oppose violence with a stronger violence. He opposes violence precisely with the contrary: with love to the end, his cross. This is a way of conquering that seems very slow to us, but it is the true way of overcoming evil, of over coming violence, and we must trust this divine way of overcoming” (2/18/07).-- “Benedict XVI Calls for a Christian Revolution, Invites Faithful to Respond to Evil With Good”, Feb. 18, 2007 (, angelus address to pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square. 

Thanks to Jim Forest for the above quotes on non-violence

Truth above fear: "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear"---1 John 4:18

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