Saturday 15 February 2014

Pax Dei--Living in Peace 9

"It's really a wonder that I haven't dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can't build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us too. I feel the suffering of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again. In the meantime, I must uphold my ideals, for perhaps the time will come when I shall be able to carry them out." Annelies Marie Frank, August 1944, The Diary of a Young Girl 
Note: I just attended day one of Webster University's annual Humanitarian Conference in Geneva, with this year's theme being "Conflict Resolution." The tone and the content, as I have so often experienced in gatherings related to international affairs and human development, were primarily dark, discouraging, and devoid of optimism and solutions. "The road to hell is paved with good intentions" was quoted more than once. Currently an estimated 1.5 billion people live in the 42 countries affected by wars and/or armed conflict, primarily intra-state (internal) fighting although many of these involving influences and participants from other countries. Against many odds, we must work towards and continue to hope that, as Anne Frank said, "peace and tranquility will return one day." 
Pax Dei
And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”….

 “You are worthy to take the scroll
    and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
and with your blood you purchased for God
persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.
You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
and they will reign on the earth.”
Note: There are different interpretations for the book of Revelation, ranging from it being an allegory about good and evil, a veiled description of the struggles of the first century church, a prophetic message of hope and warning, etc. One thing most Christian traditions will agree, is that the book reflects humanity’s desperate need of God’s help and that without Divine help all of our best efforts as humans for peace and tranquility will fail. The opening of the scroll in this passage, is understood by some as representing who has rightful access to the title deed to the earth/humanity and who can thus change the course of history and stop humanity’s misery.  If no one is worthy of the title deed then humanity is stuck, forever. No wonder John “wept and wept.” And no wonder the celestial assembly erupted in massive celebration, when the Lamb, Christ is praised for his worthiness based on his voluntary and substitutionary death on behalf of all peoples. An additional, central belief that is woven into this book is the return of Christ to the earth—the Blessed Hope described in the New Testament writing of Titus--without which the world will continue to self-destruct through corruption, exploitation, injustice, and evil. 
Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata mundi, 
miserere nobis—dona nobis pacem.

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