Peace! Blessings in the Risen Christ!
As we are daily reminded, there is much violence in the world. At the extremes we can either try to ignore it as much as possible or let it dominate our thoughts. Or take the third way: know that there is violence and evil, but never believe that they are ultimate. The reason to believe that: Jesus' death and resurrection. This is what helped Francis survive his own experiences of violence, both in the world around him and within his own heart. Thirteenth-century central Italy was an incredibly beautiful world, filled with an incredible amount of violence. Francis had experienced Assisi's war with Perugia, a very violent local affair, not as an observer but a participant. That experience of the futility of violence, when opened up by the teachings of the living Christ, helped make him an "instrument of God's peace." May St. Francis help us to be such in the world where violence still seems to reign, from Virginia to Iraq to Darfur. And with Francis may we humbly do what we can to be instruments of peace. God bless!