These have been difficult days for Lebanon. To have journalists killed and maimed for giving their opinions is not only cowardly, but also has the power to inspire cowardliness in us as well!
We all know that people should have the courage to fight the pen with the pen, not with bombs. It is a war of ideas that we want to wage, not a war of hatred. We also know that Hell is reserved for those who think they need no one, who seek none but their own counsel, and don’t allow God to talk them out of their own evil intentions. Thus God has no need to send anyone to Hell, our own use (abuse!) of our free will lands us there! But a Hell worse than Hell is discouragement.
Lebanon can easily get discouraged. One feels that today the Lebanon which had so much hope, and showed such great restraint and political will, a Lebanon that saw Christian and Muslim walk and pray hand in hand is now being victimized by a few who refuse the power of love and of the pen and impose their own Hellish solutions on others. We must pray for Lebanon and we must never be discouraged by the cowardliness of a few.
The great Pope John Paul II when faced with the horrors of Nazism, chose the power of solidarity, the power of love, and the belief that good will eventually defeat the powers of evil. “Do not fight evil with evil, but defeat evil with good,” was his belief. When asked to fight the Nazis he chose to resist with love – a powerful militancy much like that of Mahatma Gandhi who said he wanted the British to leave India, but as his friends, and Reverend Martin Luther King who desired the same rights for blacks as for whites because only by human dignity and mutual respect could both races help create the “society of the beloved.”
The lifestyle that embraces a “militant non-violent love” is as old as Jesus himself, and can still be used by people of every age. An “eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” has been tried since the time of Hammurabi, and still doesn’t work. We are now eyeless and toothless…and worse, we are becoming even spineless!
It takes a strong person to stand with the pen, or speak the truth before rulers. It takes a strong person to love in the midst of hate. It takes a cowardly bomber to discourage the rest of us. However, the courage of one can easily crumble the false façade of cowardliness.
Let us pray and work for Lebanon so that the place where man first learned to read and write, where Phoenicians conquered the Mediterranean not by guns or armies, but by intelligence and trade, may this same Lebanon now perfect the art of “militant non-violent love” and the science of political consensus, so that Lebanon can reclaim its proper place among the proud nations of the world, free, independent, sovereign and in the words of the courageous, militant and non-violent loving and beloved Pope, John Paul II, Lebanon can be for all time “more than a country, a message of fraternity for all the world.”
Sincerely Yours in Christ,
+ Gregory John Mansour
(Reprinted with permission.)