Lenten Prayer Reflections by Ron Boudreaux SJ
Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction. (Pascal, Pensées, 1670)
How is it that violence and the sacred can be so closely connected? Réné Girard and others have written extensively on the human capacity to demonize “the other”, the one who is different, the one of a different colour, the one from a different tribe. And so often it is in the name of religion. It has happened between Protestants and Catholics, between Whites and Blacks, Gays and Straights, between Sunnis and Shiites. Now we see it happening where Islam and Christianity come into contact. Perhaps, however, it is not so much the religious conviction but rather the distortion or misinterpretation of religious principles that leads to violence. This happens when people allow passion to replace reason in public discourse. This happens when we dare to use God to justify our desire for violence.
O Lord, let your peace become ours as we struggle sometimes in accepting those who are different.
Let our knowledge of you never bring discord to this world.
Teach us to practice your peace.