Tag Archives: disarmament

Dorothy Day and the disarmed kingdom

Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
The calf and the young lion shall browse together,
with a little child to guide them.
Isaiah 11

The peaceable kingdom, where wolf and lamb lie die together and a little child leads them, is one of the most poignant readings for Advent.

In the midst of violence and upheaval all around us, in the midst of concerns about the future of the US and the world, in the midst of a deep sadness in the face of so many deaths here in our parish in Honduras in the last month or so, God offers us a vision of hope, a vision of peace.

So today’s readings help console me and move me to action. How can I help the lions and the lambs live together in peace? How can I help the lions disarm their hearts – as I seek to disarm my heart?

Also, today is the anniversary of the death of the Servant of God Dorothy Day on November 29, 1980. Her life among the poor, her advocacy of peace and nonviolence, and her deep love of God continue to inspire me and give me hope.

Dorothy Day wrote in 1938 of the disarmament of the heart.

“Today the whole world is in the midst of a revolution. We are living through it now – all of us. History will record this time as a time of world revolution. And frankly, we are calling for Saints…. We must prepare now for martyrdom — otherwise we will not be ready. Who of us if … attacked now would not react quickly and humanly against such attack? Would we love our brother [or sister] who strikes us? Of all at The Catholic Worker how many would not instinctively defend [themselves] with any forceful means in [their] power? We must prepare. We must prepare now. There must be a disarmament of the heart.”

this disarmament of the heart makes sense only in light of the Lordship of Jesus, the Word made flesh among the poor. The infant born in a stable is the source of our salvation and our safety.

As Dorothy Day write in 1966, she wrote in one of her Advent Meditations for The Ave Maria Magazine:

“When I go to the crib this year I will think, as I always do, that we are not dependent on the governments of this world for our safety, but “the government will be upon His shoulder.”

Disarming my heart, can I find safety and security in God this Advent?

Disarming nations and hearts

The lectionary readings for Advent are full of promise and hope.

Isaiah’s vision of the peaceable Kingdom in Isaiah 2: 1-5, promises a new city where peace reigns, where swords are turned into plows and guns are melted down to make tools for life.

It’s almost too much to hope for.

The violence that surrounds us calls for something that will give hope. I’m not just thinking about ISIS and Ferguson; I’m thinking about the violence here, where the young are not spared and where all too often simple disagreements escalate into deadly quarrels, mostly because of the presence of too many weapons.

We need this hopeful vision that Isaiah offers – as inspiration for our work for peace and reconciliation.

But even today’s Gospel , Matthew 8: 5-11, offers us signs of hope. A Roman centurion comes to Jesus and asks him to cure his servant.

The Greek word used – παῖς – is ambiguous. It can mean servant, slave, or child.

Why would a centurion care about the health of a child servant? What moved him to seek the help of one of the conquered peoples? What caused him to declare his unworthiness before one of those oppressed by the Roman Empire?

What in the world – or out of this world – moved him to compassion?

What moves us from our fears and our desires to protect ourselves from others whom we consider as threats?

What can move the world to care for the little ones, the marginalized, the servants?

What can disarm our hearts?

Or, rather, who can disarm our hearts?

A loving God who comes among us as a poor man, in a conquered country.

A disarmed God can disarm us.