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April 16, 2021

Reflections on the Violence in Our Midst

As has been the case far too often in recent months, acts of violence rooted in hatred and bigotry are in the headlines, reminding us yet again how far our country needs to go to ensure the arch of the universe does, in fact, bend toward justice.

I urge you all to take time to reflect upon the Franciscan values of inclusivity, mercy, compassion and kindness that guide this institution and contemplate on the ways we can draw upon those values in the pursuit of justice that these times require. Please continue to speak out and to engage in meaningful dialogue with those around you. As always, I stand with all of you as we denounce this violence and as we strive to live lives that promote peace, justice and true equality for everyone.

Keep in mind as we are reminded daily of all the avoidable acts of violence in the world today — be it the recent killing of Daunte Wright in Minnesota, the killing of 13-year-old Adam Toledo in Chicago, the shootings last night in Indianapolis, the various shootings that have taken place across the country including the shooting of a police officer, the recent surge in gun violence in many of the cities across the country, the discriminatory fueled attacks on Asian and Asian Americans in NYC and across the country and more — we are called to attend to one another in ways that demonstrate our commitment to being inclined to promote peace and justice at every turn.

I beg that you realize that all of us experience these episodes of violence differently, but it does impact many of us in our community in ways that require our compassion and attention.

These traumatic acts provoke real pain and real anger. It is crucial that we all continue to stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in private and public spaces.

As I close, I share a brief prayer I read this morning. I have modified it modestly.

Dear Lord,
I know there is
profound poverty (and violence)
in our world
but sometimes I don't see it—
or worse,
I don't want to see it.
I beg your forgiveness
for my apathy,
for I truly do love others
and care for their well-being.
Help me to get out
of my own rigid routine
and not only see,
but soothe
the sting of poverty (and violence)
in my family,
my neighbors,
and strangers alike.

In Peace and Friendship,

Miguel Martinez-Saenz

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