This afternoon I was honored to offer a prayer at the opening of our monthly Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association meeting here in Las Cruces. I would like to share a few thoughts about my offering. I said, to paraphrase, 'my faith tradition has a slogan: "May all beings be free from suffering." I noted that all of us suffer and as veterans of combat we have a pretty damned good idea as to what real suffering is. God knows we are a suffering world. We suffer and live, we suffer and are wounded. I asked each of us to pray for those who were killed in Paris in violence that was...and is...meaningless. I asked us to pray that the Lord keep warm the hearts and souls of the families involved.
My thoughts are also with those beings who suffer so much that they feel the only way to free themselves from their hate is to harm others. All of us feel the need to retaliate injury, but not all of us do harm as a result of that feeling. Our desire to seek retribution comes from the dark side of our nature, it is both normal and toxic, a result of millennia of natural selection. Yet so is our desire and need to care for one another a result of that same evolutionary principle.
I believe the most difficult thing a person of spirit must do is love those who wish us harm. Few get there and many who do are assassinated for it. Peace is not easy. And working for peace in a climate of hate is dangerous.
Personally, I must work hard every day not to give in to the inclination to harm those who threaten us. I often fail in this. I am human after all which is, then, a contradiction as the Latin, homo sapien (our biological classification), means wise man. Ironic, isn't it?