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A Reflection for Peace in Thai Society by Rev.Payont Sansanayudh Print

A Reflection for Peace in Thai Society

            At this point in time, Thai people share the same need that they want to see peace in society.  We are afraid that the current tension in our country is moving towards violence, which no one wants to see, and all of us are ready to reject those methods.  Yet, we cannot deny that this pressing situation created by both factions has already caused wound of dissent in the heart of the people.  This wound is a conflict pushing society towards division when each faction sees that it is better and more correct without listening or accepting reasons raised by the other faction.  It is regrettable that this current of idea has already been extended widely in society, and we are not able to find out an answer who would be responsible for this damage.

            Justice and Peace Department (JP) would like to take this opportunity to invite all Christians to review and do self-reflection based on religious teachings.  We should start to reflect that "The Creator has entrusted man's life to his responsible concern, not to make arbitrary use of it, but to preserve it with wisdom and to care for it with loving fidelity.  The God of the Covenant has entrusted the life of every individual to his or her fellow human beings, brothers and sisters, according to the law of reciprocity in giving and receiving, of self-giving and of the acceptance of others. .... With the gift of his Spirit, Christ gives new content and meaning to the law of reciprocity, to our being entrusted to one another.  The Spirit who builds up communion in love creates between us a new fraternity and solidarity, a true reflection of the mystery of mutual self-giving and receiving proper to the Most Holy Trinity.  The Spirit becomes the new law which gives strength to believers and awakens in them a responsibility for sharing the gift of self and for accepting others, as a sharing in the boundless love of Jesus Christ himself." (Evangelium Vitae, no. 76)

          It is a great challenge of life - the courage that society needs - when each one of us is happy and ready to step out from our own self based on the foundation of dialogue of life - a dialogue with high spirit and conscience derived from transcendent wisdom.  With this principle in mind, we have to persevere, especially on mistakes of the weak.  We need to take care of one another for common good and reciprocity, and accept one another so that dialogue would be possible.  Time and again, however, we are not able to go beyond many obstacles and limitations ahead of us, perhaps because we want to protect ourselves rather than stepping out of our self.

          Dear Christians, Jesus Christ teaches us that "Remain in my love.  If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and remain in his love." (Jn. 15: 9-10).  This means that if we remain in the love of God, He will lead us to go beyond those obstacles.  "Eros tends to rise "in ecstasy" towards the Divine, to lead us beyond ourselves; yet for this very reason it calls for a path of ascent, renunciation, purification and healing." (Deus Caritas Est, no. 5).

          There is another reason that we cannot neglect.  We have to protest the use of violence, which might cause loss to life, and it is a serious violation of human rights.  We have to love and respect the life of all women and men.  Human life must be protected, especially when our life is weakened or threatened.  This is a duty that does not merely involve personal action, but collective action that all must have a hand on.  Christians are demanded to help raise clear awareness on the value of life in all cases.  We need to have the way to speak and take action that respect and promote human value and dignity.  We need to reaffirm and bear witness to the love that God has on us.

            Thai society is facing conflict of ideas because of differences in personal characters, between women and men, the rich and the poor, and an attitude filled with pessimism influenced by consumption of one-sided information.  This situation leads everyone in society not to accept one another or respect differences in each human being.  This is the voice calling for action and attitudes toward society, which is ever louder.  We need to do something in this situation of social conflict.  This is the call of the Holy Spirit that "This is my commandment: love one another as I love you." (Jn. 15:12).  He calls us to live the basic principle of life that is the spirit of love to build society that is tender, going back to society of love and solidarity, society of justice and peace.

          Let us take a look at an example of the spirit of love from the experience of St. John so that we will learn practical guidelines.  "If I have no contact whatsoever with God in my life, then I cannot see in the other anything more than the other, and I am incapable of seeing in him the image of God.  But if in my life I fail completely to heed others, solely out of a desire to be "devout" and to perform my "religious duties", then my relationship with God will also grow arid.  It becomes merely "proper", but loveless." (Dues Caritas Est, no.18)

          So that these hopes would be fulfilled, let all Christians live the way of love of God, their own self and others with openness, acceptance and respect to dignity with love, compassion, generosity and forgiveness so that all people would be free from all prejudices, and are ready to go out to build society of peace.

          May the divine grace of love and peace dwell in the heart of all of us.


Rev.Payont Sansanayudh, Spiritual Director

Justice and Peace Department, Caritas Thailand  

December 2, 2008

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