Peace and Justice

Hank Mattimore
July 9, 2018
Reproduced with Permission

I was reflecting on the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi the other day. You know the prayer I'm talking about right? The one that begins "Lord, Make me an instrument of Thy peace." Beautiful prayer. And breathes there a human being who does not long for peace, for ourselves, our families, our country, the world.

That got me thinking about the way peace and justice should fit together. You can't really have one without the other. There is no peace when people are not treated fairly. Peace and justice are brothers, twins really, feeding off one another, drinking from the same cup.

What kind of peace is it when one brother is well fed and housed and comfortable and his brother or sister go without or are treated as strangers? I'm sure that is what St. Francis had in mind when he followed that first line of his prayer with a reminder to bring love instead of hatred to the the world, to forgive injuries, to sow joy where there is sadness and hope where there is despair.

The key to finding peace in our world is to seek justice in our dealings with one another and with our institutions. Heard that song before? We all have. Ah! But the devil is in the details isn't it? Breathes there a human being who doesn't want peace ? But the peace with justice part is messy.

Just ask the immigrant mom holding her baby in her arms or the kid in prison for a non violent crime or the millions in our country still without decent health care or the people of color who still do not receive equal protection under the law.

Yep, it's messy all right. But if we want to clean up our mess, to be "instruments of Thy peace" We have to start with justice for all.