There has been heard across this nation and the world a swelling sound that echoes from the depths of one common human experience: the universal longing for peace. We have begun to see a public response in the national and international peace movements, in the forums of government, and in recent meetings of the American Catholic bishops. But there is a profound need to explore the nature of a personal response to that universal cry for peace.
Any personal response to the challenge of peace is first of all an act of faith in a living God who has transformed death into life in the person of Jesus Christ. Faith determined every step in the life of Christ. His faith was rooted in the understanding that the God of love is ever-present and waiting for the act of faith and compassion that can open up the reality of what Jesus called the kingdom of God: a world in which the human family knows justice and peace as an ever-flowing, ever-expanding reality. That reality is always at hand and can come to life through our conversion to a compassionate faith in a loving, caring God.
Our open hearts and a commitment to prayer are the means by which we discern our particular role in the reality of God's kingdom. Each of us is called to respond in our own way to the call of faith. When Jesus told us to seek first the kingdom of heaven, he gave no maps or blueprints. He told us to love our enemies, to do good to those who hate us, to sell what we have, to feed the poor, and to follow him all the way to the cross. He promised that we would share his life and his death, and after that his new life; he promised that God would provide for those who seek the kingdom first. He promised the resurrection, but only after the crucifixion.
I believe that these promises challenge us to take action based on faith. I do not believe that they call us all to any one action.