Our Lady Queen of Peace and Peter Maurin

August 6 - 14, 2000

General intention: For the conversion of the rich and powerful.

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6th Work of Justice and Peace: Celebrate life, goodness, beauty, virtue, responsibility, and joy. Practice peace, non-violence, servant leadership, harmony, community, voluntary cooperation, and the proper stewardship of God's creation. Pray without ceasing.

Let us pray together in peace, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, help the helpless, strengthen the fearful, comfort the sorrowful, bring justice to the poor, peace to all nations, and solidarity among all peoples. Open our eyes to see the beauty, joy, redemption, and goodness which comes through obedience to the call of your Son our Lord. Teach us to be a refuge of hope for all who are oppressed by injustice and violence. Give us strength to stand against the demonic powers which prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.

Our Lady Queen of Peace, mystical rose, Bless those who create and sustain a culture of life and love with endurance, hope, and abundance. May the candles we light glow bright with hospitality and hope, respect and love, peace and justice.

Peter Maurin, Holy Fool, teach us to give and not to take, to serve and not to rule, to help and not to crush, to nourish and not to devour, and if need be, to die and not to live. As we create a new society within the shell of the old, remind us that ideals and not deals, creed and not greed, are what makes humanity humane.

Thoughts for the journey during the Jubilee Holy Year 2000.

Everybody has an idea about what poor people need to do to solve their problems. Rarely do people consider how the behaviors of the rich and powerful must change in order for justice to prevail. People don't necessarily want to speak or hear uncomfortable things. It is never easy to speak truth to power, but this is what we are called to do.

Peter Maurin, one of the founders of the Catholic Worker movement, taught that it was a great blessing to assist the rich in coming to the assistance of the poor. Too often, "never the twain shall meet," and certainly, in this day and age, communication between the poor and the rich is perhaps the worst that it has ever been. Communication requires that each person who wants to be heard and understood must see and hear the "Other" as a human person. It's not easy, and it takes practice.

The program that Peter and Dorothy offered to the world was direct, personal involvement with other human beings. He called us to open houses of hospitality, to engage in clarification of thought, and to found agricultural communities as the seeds of new villages. He was suspicious of the imperial State, and wanted the Catholic Worker movement to be an organism, not an organization. As the empire entered a time of great triumph, he called for establishing the seeds of a new society within the old. He taught that the poor should be fed by Christians, not by large government bureaucracies. He wrote many "Easy Essays" -- short little works, almost poetry in their simplicity, each one packed with intense theological concepts about the human person and how we relate to one another in community. He also reminded us of the nobility -- and the necessity -- of manual labor (something we'd often like to forget in this day of convenience and instant gratification).

Peace is the fruit of justice, as Pope Paul VI reminded us. All people are connected, rich and poor. The Gospel calls us therefore to the work of justice, to the celebration of life, goodness, beauty, virtue, responsibility, and joy. As we practice peace, non-violence, servant leadership, harmony, community, voluntary cooperation, and the proper stewardship of God's creation, we may eventually get good at it, especially if we pray without ceasing.

Some of Peter Maurin's Easy Essays.

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