World Days of Peace and Gratitude

World Days of Peace and Gratitude

Let humanity grow within us and let life flourish in our daily lives

We live in difficult times for peace and gratitude: in the society of indifference, confrontation prevails, often even armed, and feelings closer to hostility, resentment and envy. It is as if on a human level we are in an era of regression of the capacity for love for the other and are more often confronted with experiencing ingratitude: humanity in us grows, instead, in recognised interdependence. The recent war between Russia and Ukraine, for example, not to mention the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, feeds on the mutual desire to ‘crush’, literally mortify the other and the life within him.

There are so many conflicts that incessantly stain countries with blood and scourge people’s lives that Caritas Italiana devoted extensive attention to them in the early 2000s with its ‘Research Report on Finance and Poverty, Environment and Forgotten Conflicts’.

Peace, however, is not just the absence of war. The themes of peace are not just about conflicts and wars, but extend to so many other aspects that, if not tackled with courage and awareness by mankind, jeopardise the very essence of peace: safeguarding democracy, respecting fundamental human rights, protecting the environment, fighting poverty and inequality, welcoming and solidarity. This is celebrating peace: taking care of each other while together, with gratitude, we take care of creation.

‘Gratitude is the memory of the heart’
(St Mary Euphrasia)

Peace and gratitude are a path. Let us follow it with the spiritual compass of Pacem in Terris, John XXIII’s Encyclical Letter on Peace Among All Nations in Truth, Justice, Love and Freedom of 11 April 1963. Here the ‘good Pope’, traces a line from peace to be built in the hearts of men to a rethinking of our model of development and action at all levels: ‘On political, economic and social matters it is not dogma that points to practical solutions, but rather it is dialogue, listening, patience, respect for others, sincerity and also the readiness to revise one’s own opinion. After all, Pope John XXIII’s call for peace aimed at orienting the international debate according to these virtues’. (Speech by Pope Francis at the meeting sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace on the 50th anniversary of Pacem in Terris, 3 October 2013).

“Let us shake hands, on the shores of peace” (Mario Luzi, poet)

(Mario Luzi, poeta)