One of the nation’s leading activists for nonviolence is coming to the Mount Saint Joseph Conference and Retreat Center in November to share his insights on peacemaking.
On Nov. 1-2, 2019, Father John Dear, author and Nobel Peace Prize nominee, is leading “Jesus the Peacemaker: Following Jesus on the Path of Peace and Nonviolence.”
Father Dear is a leader in the Pace e Bene organization that teaches nonviolence. He will reflect on the life of Jesus from the perspective of nonviolence practiced by Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King and invite participants to ponder how they can become more nonviolent.
“I’ve always been amazed by Gandhi’s statement that ‘Jesus was the greatest person of nonviolence in history, yet the only people who don’t know that Jesus is nonviolent are Christians,’” Father Dear said via email. “If Gandhi is right that active, creative nonviolence – as organized grassroots movements of love and truth – is the best hope for humanity, and Jesus was the fulfillment of nonviolence, then we have to rethink our entire Christian lives in light of active nonviolence. Not only is war no longer justified, not only are we forbidden to kill, but we are sent as peacemakers by the nonviolent to disarm the world.”
This program will begin at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1, and go until 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
“This weekend, we will reflect on the life, teachings, death and resurrection of Jesus from the perspective of active nonviolence, to understand his way of nonviolence more and how we might best individually and globally put his active nonviolence into practice,” Father Dear said. “For me, that means trying to be nonviolent to ourselves, nonviolent to all people, nonviolent to all creatures and creation. It means doing our part in the global grassroots movements of nonviolence for a new world without war, injustice, nuclear weapons, poverty or environmental destruction.
“Our retreat will offer us time to reflect on our own peacemaking journeys in light of Jesus the peacemaker, and how we can deepen our commitment as peacemakers in these turbulent times,” Father Dear said. “We will explore a new kind of spirituality of active nonviolence in the tradition of Gandhi, Dorothy Day, Dr. King and Archbishop Romero. It’s a ‘dangerous holiness’ that is not just a private practice but a public campaign of nonviolence, one that seeks to disarm and transform our immoral culture of violence and war into something new – a new culture of nonviolence and peace.”
Father Dear rejects the notion of nonviolence being a passive attitude.
“There is nothing passive about this life of Christian nonviolence. It is a call to public action, as Cesar Chavez once told me,” Father Dear said. “It means obeying the teachings of Jesus: ‘Put down the sword. Take up the cross. Love your neighbor. Love your enemies. Offer no violent resistance to one who does evil. Seek first the Kingdom of God and God’s justice.’
“The nonviolent Jesus was not passive nor silent, and as we face our culture of permanent war, injustice and catastrophic climate change, neither can we be,” Father Dear said. “During the retreat, we will focus on Luke 10, where Jesus sends the 72 disciples out into the culture of violence as ‘lambs into the midst of wolves’ to proclaim God’s reign of peace, and discuss how we have been doing that during our lives, and how Jesus is calling us anew to do that.”
The cost is $70 for commuters or $130 for single occupancy guests, which includes lodging, meals and program. The cost for a double occupancy room is $225.
What: Jesus the Peacemaker led by Father John Dear
When: This program will begin at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1, and go until 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
Cost: The cost is $70 for commuters or $130 for single occupancy guests, which includes lodging, meals and program. The cost for a double occupancy room is $225.