Pax et bonum. Peace and all good.

Approx. read time: 2:35 min.

It’s hot. I just wish summer were over.

And it’s bone dry. I wish the rains would come.

Smoke from wildfires somewhere, everywhere, chokes the upper end of the valley. The nearby Coburg hills are long-distance blue.

But I’ve got deeper aches in my heart right now.

Bridges are connectors. I took this photo of a bridge on the trail at Mount Pisgah, in Lane County, Oregon

I watch Afghanistan crumble before my eyes. And Haiti is in shambles, in so many ways.

I hear the cry of humanity rise up, like dust in a parched throat. 

The Psalmist writes:

     How long, O God, will you forget me?

     How long will you hide your face?

     How long must my soul bear this grief?

          this sorrow in the depths of my heart?

     Look at me, O God and answer me!

Helicopters buzz low. The dust flies. The sun continues its blazing arc across the sky.

How much more grief can the world bear, I wonder, eating my breakfast as I read the morning’s headlines.

So today I have to ask myself: Where am I with all this anguish? 

My life feels pretty calm. I’ve got a day’s work ahead of me. My health is good. I’ve got money enough for next month’s rent.

Like your life, mine is not anguish-proof. But I’ve got it pretty good.

I think now of the heartfelt plea of Pope Paul VI, back in his 1965 address to the United Nations: “No. More. War! War never again! If you wish to be brothers, drop your weapons.”

If you wish to be brothers, he says, drop your weapons.

If you wish to be brothers.

If you wish.

We have a choice here. We can not only wish better, but we can will it and work it into being.

Pope Paul also said, addressing the World Day for Peace in 1972, “If you want peace, work for justice.”

I sincerely would like peace in my world.

And I sometimes do a little something toward justice.

Could a whole neighborhood agree on wanting peace and working for justice? How about the ninety-some people living in my apartment building?

How about the people living on your block?

How about a city, or state, or nation? How about the world, wanting peace enough to work for justice? 

God has held this vision from the get-go. And has equipped us with all the tools we need to build a world of justice and peace.

Am I willing to start that courageous conversation in my town?

I call this world of justice and peace the Land of the Rightside Up.

The risen Christ gave his followers his gift of peace. He would not have done this if he believed the gift was futile, or that we were not up to the task.

Imagine, most of us, or even some of us, willing to be on the same page for something as fundamental as peace, and as urgent as justice.

Our tragic human flaw is that many of us, much of the time, really don’t want to be on the same page. At least not on the things that might cost us something.

Yet I find hope, in the pockets of humanity where peace is cherished, where a space for peace is defended. I think of my town’s Catholic Worker House where peace is the language, the binding force, the place where hearts can heal from the world’s wounds.

Pax et bonum, they say. Peace and all good. Starting with my own heart, and mind, and attitude.

Be the bridge, I say. Be the bridge.

These are my thoughts. Reach out. I welcome your thoughts on being the bridge, the peacemaker, the one working in large ways or small, for justice and peace in the Land of the Rightside Up.


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