I've never been strong enough to take this vow but here it is. Maybe someday I will be, maybe some day we all will be.
~VOW OF NONVIOLENCE~
RECOGNIZING THE VIOLENCE IN MY OWN HEART, yet trusting in the goodness and mercy of God, I vow for one year to practice the nonviolence of Jesus who taught us in the Sermon on the Mount: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons and daughters of God...You have learned how it was said, "You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy"; but I say to you, "Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you. In this way, you will be daughters and sons of your Creator in heaven." Before God the Creator and the Sanctifying Spirit, I vow to carry out in my life the love and example of Jesus by striving for peace within myself and seeking to be a peacemaker in my daily life; by accepting suffering rather than inflicting it; by refusing to retaliate in the face of provocation and violence; by persevering in nonviolence of tongue and heart; by living conscientiously and simply so that I do not deprive others of the means to live; by actively resisting evil and working nonviolently to abolish war and the causes of war from my own heart and from the face of the earth. God, I trust in Your sustaining love and believe that just as You gave me the grace and desire to offer this, so You will also bestow abundant grace to fulfill it.
Well, I'm still not strong enough but on Pentecost Sunday I finally did take this vow. These are the two things I will have the most trouble with I'm sure; "by refusing to retaliate in the face of provocation and violence; by persevering in nonviolence of tongue and heart".
A daily prayer that helps...
For the Grace to Desire Peace
Great God, who has told us "Vengeance is mine,"save us from ourselves,
save us from the vengeance in our hearts
and the acid in our souls.
Save us from our desire to hurt as we have been hurt,
to punish as we have been punished,
to terrorize as we have been terrorized.
Give us the strength it takes
to listen rather than to judge,
to trust rather than to fear,
to try again and again
to make peace even when peace eludes us.
We ask, O God, for the grace to be our best selves.
We ask for the vision
to be builders of the human community
rather than its destroyers.
We ask for the humility as a people
to understand the fears and hopes of other peoples.
We ask for the love it takes
to bequeath to the children of the world to come
more than the failures of our own making.
We ask for the heart it takes
to care for all the peoples
of Afghanistan and Iraq, of Palestine and Israel (Lebanon, Darfur,Syria, Iran & those south of our border)
as well as for ourselves.
Give us the depth of soul, O God,
to constrain our might,
to resist the
temptations of power,
to refuse to attack the attackable,
to understand that vengeance begets violence,
and to bring peace – not war – wherever we go.
For You, O God, have been merciful to us.
For You, O God, have been patient with us.
For You, O God, have been gracious to us.
And so may we be mercifuland patient and gracious
with these others who you also love.
Joan D. Chittister, OSB
"Reprinted with permission from Pax Christi USA,