As we continue our Lenten journey focusing on the Wheaton Franciscan Laudato Si’ Action Platform statement, we reflect on our commitment to
…promote nonviolence and to work to recognize and eliminate systemic injustice in all its forms.
Systemic injustice refers to the numerous ways in which social, cultural, economic, and political systems create conditions that expose particular populations to risks and vulnerabilities that lead to increased social exclusion, injury, and death.
Marie Dennis and Ken Butigan believe that Gospel nonviolence is essential for a Laudato Si’ future. They write in Gospel Nonviolence for a Laudato Si’ Future that
“nonviolence is a spirituality and a courageous way of life.… It includes nonviolent resistance and action for social change and is a method of protecting the vulnerable and a universal ethic.”
Nonviolence can be applied at a personal, interpersonal, and social-structural level. Some of the ways that we can personally promote nonviolence include practicing loving-kindness, respect, compassionate listening, nonviolent communication, humility, gratitude, integrity, harmony, self-awareness, self-compassion, and smiling. In addition, we can educate ourselves on racism, xenophobia, and all forms of discrimination that attack human dignity and divide our human family.
In Laudato Si’, Pope Francis reminds us that it isn’t either the environment or social justice, “but one complex crisis” (LS 139). Nonviolence as a way of life “creates openings for lament, confession, forgiveness, reparation, and reconciliation” (Dennis and Butigen). Nonviolence is key to our journey toward a flourishing future.
May God give us the courage to live the Gospel way of nonviolence.