Advent Reflections – Brendan Lyle


“Peace is more than the absence of war: it cannot be reduced to the maintenance of a balance of power between opposing forces nor does it arise out of despotic dominion, but it is appropriately called ‘the effect of righteousness’ (Is. 32:17). It is the fruit of the right ordering of things with which the divine founder has invested human society and which must also be actualized by [humans] thirsting after an ever more perfect reign of justice.”

(Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World)

By Brendan Lyle

Brendan Lyle

As we continue on the Advent season, we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, who gave the world both the gift of salvation and the model for living a life in perfect harmony with the Word of God. But time and again, humanity has proven its inability to live by this example. Though Jesus asked us to show love and compassion to all whom we meet, the countless wars and conflicts that have tarnished human history vividly showcase our collective inability to live by this creed.

Recent examples of this are readily apparent, including the near decade-long involvement of American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is appropriate then that our involvement in Iraq (for the most part) will end not long after the Advent season. Though this is of course a positive step to promote peace, it is not enough to realize Christ’s teachings.

As the Second Vatican Council stated in this excerpt, “Peace is more than the absence of war.” Despite this apparent end to the conflict, peace cannot be realized without forgiveness and acceptance. Even 10 years after 9/11, a widespread hatred and fear of Islam persists in this country. It has created an us-versus-them mentality between some Christians and Muslims, the vast majority of whom are not at all responsible for the terrible events that they have been blamed with. So this Advent season, while we support our returning troops, take time to think about Christ’s teachings and learn to love everyone despite any widespread misconceptions you are exposed to. Because forgiveness promotes world peace more than any military action ever could.

Brendan Lyle is a sophomore intelligence studies major from Warren, Pa. He is actively involved in the planning of Protestant services at Mercyhurst.

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