Sunday, July 3, 2016

Fr. Dan on violence, peacemaking (day 3)

Fr. Dan Horan
Fr. Dan Horan, OFM, began his second Quinquennial Congress presentation Saturday, July 2, by pointing to the Canticle of the Sun. It perhaps was a culminating expression of Francis’ journey from violence to peacemaking.

Francis dreamed of being a warrior knight, but was slapped with the reality of becoming a prisoner of war. His life changed, and eventually he started on a path of discovering and living the Gospel, and becoming a peacemaker.

The canticle recognized how the sun, the noon, all of nature were being true to themselves and therefore naturally giving praise to God.

The question, Father Dan noted, is how can humans be true to themselves – in other words, how to get beyond the “original sin” of not being what God wants us to be? He suggests that non-violence and peacemaking is at the heart of the Franciscan tradition. In fact, the Secular Franciscan rule calls us “to be instruments of peace.”

Being Franciscan means being “contrary to the logic of the world,” he said. To be a peacemaker is a “foundational call,” he said. “How are we living our vocation?”

The friar pointed to three types of violence toubling the U.S.

1. Gun violence. “33, 626 people were killed by firearms” in the U.S. in 2013. Many of these acts of violence occurred in the home, he noted, pointing to instances of children coming across a weapon and accidentally killing themselves or family members.

2. Capital punishment. Recent popes proclaimed that killing others for crimes was not acceptable.

3. Violence in our hearts. It’s where we dehumanize others. Look at what “we hold in our hearts” – judgements and prejudices.

The Franciscan tradition of being lesser, minor – couple with Gospel love – can overcome such violence.

“The Gospel is so beautiful.”

Fr. Dan Horan
Friar Dan Horan addresses the Quinquennial Congress crowd in St. Louis, MO.