April 5, 2021
Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Lk 2:14)
The turbulent times marked by the pandemic was made even more wearing by the daily news of killings of our own people, of our government officials, and even of the members of the judiciary. Needless to say, news of threats and harassments, of red-tagging and enforced detentions and of extra-judicial killings are rampant nowadays. Violence multi-plies and it is creeping the cornerstone of peace in humanity.
In this regard, the National Director of Caritas Philippines, Bishop Jose Colin M. Bagaforo, in an Open Letter to Filipino People dated March 10, 2021, echoes a more dangerous atmosphere; that is, “we have grown to be accustomed to tolerating this blatant disregard to the rule of law.… we have let our leaders to take command of our collective silence. They interpreted our inaction and passive nature as explicit permission to stir unlawful behavior as long as it is covered by legal orders and memorandum.”
“Peace can never be established, never guaranteed, except by the diligent observance of the divinely established order” (Pacem in Terris 1). There is no peace without God and peace is always based on his established order. Part of this established divine harmony is the respect to the inalienable right to life and means to achieve its proper development and respect for human dignity.
Humans are dignified beings as they are created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:27) and violating this is a mortal sin against God! Their dignity “comes from the persons they are” (Centesimus annus 11). Anything which violates and “insults hu-man dignity…are infamies indeed” (Gaudium et Spes 27) and is considered a direct of-fence against God (Mt 25:40).
In this amplified voice that the Holy Angel University, as a Catholic University, in conso-nance with the teachings of the Church on violence and peace, does not keep silent in calling out these violations. We advocate peace by raising our voice to call for respect to human life and dignity, for the recognition of every person’s inalienable rights, for the stopping of acts of violence, and for respect to the rule of law. We believe that peace and harmony cannot be achieved through ruthlessness, but only through an attitude of mutual respect and discernment.
We then exhort the University community to join us in our advocacy for peace. Let us altogether break the circle of violence beginning in our homes, with our families, our do-mestic Church (Lumen Gentium 11). Our family should always promote love and proclaim the Gospel of Christ (Amoris Laetitia 290). How beautiful it is to see children honoring and respecting their parents (Col 3:20) and parents honoring and respecting their children as well (Eph 6:4)!
Moreover, let us pray together and thank the Lord in meals, even in every little blessing, in everything (1 Thes 5:18). Let us resolve conflicts through peaceful dialogue because our families should be a sign of unity (Familiaris Consortio 48). We walk together in every joy and sorrow. We lift up one another when we fall down. Outside our families, we face our neighbors with the same familial love of God and of one another (Mk 12:29-31) and may this same love bring the world its peace.
Let us be disturbed by the violence around us. This violence calls us to be vigilant and assume our responsibility. The violence that screams in darkness and silence of nights. As the philosopher Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
May our promotion of peace and fight against the culture of violence bring glory to God, our Creator (Gen 1). May Christ, the Prince of Peace (Is 9:5), always bless our families and our nation. May our Mother Mary, the Queen of Peace, guide us as we aspire for authentic peace. And may St. Joseph, the protector of the Holy Family (Mt 1-2), assist us through his constant intercessions.
As one faithful community, we also ask for the powerful prayers of St. Francis of Assisi, St. Rita of Cascia, St. Oliver Plunkett of Ireland, St. John Paul II, St. Oscar Romero, and all those saints who are known for their zeal for peace and reconciliation.
And may our Holy Guardian Angels guide us and protect us as we commit ourselves to be instruments to put an end to social inequalities that are unjust and fuel misery, conflict, and violence. In us lie the hope and commitment of boundless peace.
One with you in glorifying the Risen Lord who gives us authentic peace (Lk 24:36)