The Long Haul

By Dick Brummel

“Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.”  Leaving aside just who the meek’ are, do you recall any place in Scripture that tells just when the meek with get their inheritance?That issue is perhaps at the heart of what we are about when we do justice.  How often do we ask ourselves, “How long, O Lord? How long?” The unfinished nature of our peacemaking can give rise to a sense of helplessness and hopelessness. 

It seems that we have an easier time coming up with explanations for the ‘why’ of the injustice we confront.  We have no shortage of personages or forces to blame for the injustices we seek to overcome. And that’s not because we are correctly answering the why question.  It just seems that answers, correct or not (or even that there seem to be answers) are more accessible to us.  It seems easy to identify the culprits of racial, religious, economic, geographic injustice.  Perhaps the ease of pointing the finger leaves us less than meek and only serves to postpone the day of inheritance.

But postponed it is, regardless of the cause. And that postponement is what seems to be the greatest challenge for the peacemakers I have known.  We can be so consumed by the urgency of our peacemaking that we can forget that the real peacemakers are those who are at peace themselves.  Not that there is no sense of urgency for them.  The very real evils they seek to overcome have very real victims.  The poverty of the poor in El Salvador, Darfur, and the inner city claims victims every day. One more day of the deprivation they face is one day too many.

But can we make any lasting difference in their lives if we are victims as well. Can we bring peace if we are constantly at war with the demons of immediacy, self-importance, and self-righteousness? Why are we at war with these inescapably human forces? Could it be that we lack the humility to accept the fact that we each play a sin-prone and small role in mitigating the effects of sin in this world.  Could it be that we believe that our actions must bear immediate results in order to be worthwhile? Or, could it be that we consider ourselves agents of grace and others the agents of that sin we seek to obliterate?

Winston Churchill once said that “The graveyards of the world are filled with indispensable men (women).”  Let’s remind ourselves daily that we are not indispensable.    Our peacemaking, when it is rooted in of a sense that we act out of a universal demand to do justice, can bear the fruits of internal and external peace.  When we are at peace with our human limitations and the fact that we have not been promised a date for the meek inheriting the earth, we can act of a patience and humility that provides the strength to make peacemaking a lifetime vocation.

Perhaps we need a ninth Beatitude.

Blessed are the patient, for theirs is the long haul.

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1 Comment »

  1. Peter Stauffacher said

    Thank you Dick,
    i think you are on to something here…..the humility to let go and let God, growing in greater FaithFULLness to Him who showed us The Way, and ultimately letting go of the Outcomes, Whilst ACTing as if it ALL depended on us, Surrendering even to Giving one’s Life…..this is what i have seen present in those Living Amidst the worst ‘hells’ and yet HOLDing the Greatest presence of God’s Love and Peace. Having surrendered EVERyThing of this world, they have Nothing to lose as they receive Blessings in every subsequent second and moment Living in communion with God and neighbor.

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