International Commission Reaffirms NGO and Need for Promoters in Provinces
The International Justice and Peace Commission (CIJP) met in Middletown, New York, USA, during the first week of October 2003. The members of the commission reviewed the points covered at the last meeting, reaffirming their charge to inform, to educate, and to act in the area of Justice and Peace, bearing in mind the ideals proposed in the "Ten Approaches to Justice and Peace in the Carmelite Order"(published in CITOC 2003/2 [April-June]).
The CIJP discussed and reaffirmed the continued development of the NGO, accredited to the United Nations, working together with the sisters of the Congregation of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and with Fr. William Harry, O. Carm. Ways of further developing the mission towards the UN and incorporating new groups connected to the Carmelite Family in our efforts were discussed. We recognize the importance of bringing the voice of the poor and of the communities throughout the world in which we work to the UN.
The CIJP discussed the urgent need to have a "Promoter of Justice and Peace," religious or lay, in each Province and sent a formal request for this to the General Council. The Commission also developed some other proposals to be brought to the attention of the General Council of the Order:
The organization of a secretariat which would increase the participation of the provinces in the area of Justice and Peace; to make the information, the formation, and actions more effective at the Carmelite Family level:
The CIJP discussed the various actions Carmelites took during the past year in many of the local as well as world situations. All of these moments moments became lived experiences of our Carmelite charism and the prophetic duty we have for the truth and justice of the Kingdom of God.
The Commission wishes to thank the members of the North American Province of St. Elias, especially the Prior Provincial, Michael Kissane, and the prior of the house, Francis Amodio, for the hospitality shown during the meetings.
For more information about the Carmelite NGO, go to carmelites.info/ngo
The Recommendation of Silence in the Rule of Carmel
To describe the value of silence, the Rule quotes two sentences of the Prophet Isaiah. "Justice is cultivated in the silence and hope; it is in silence and in hope that your strength will be met." (Is 32:17; 30:15) This is a silence that has its origin in the prophets. For us, as Carmelites, the prophetic silence immediately calls to mind the Prophet Elijah. The two sentences from Isaiah indicate the two steps in prophetic silence. Both have great importance for us today.
Today we are overwhelmed by words, images, and by conversations that are so overwhelming that they block the person from understanding what is happening. We are so wrapped up in this way of doing things that we consider it normal when, in reality, it is a situation of death. For example, years ago the people got angry when confronted with assassinations and violence. Today the violence has become so frequent and so widespread that we are accustomed to it. The misery grows among the people, injustices go unpunished, the suffering of those who have done no wrong, the forgotten, the unemployed, the excluded, those in pain, alone, unloved increases. We live in a situation of death. Consumerism kills whatever force of conscience one has.
The first step of ‘prophetic silence’ is expressed in that first sentence of Isaiah which says "Justice is cultivated in silence." Isaiah makes a comparison between silence with the work of a farmer who works his land to have a good harvest. This first sentence indicates that it is our activity that tends to produce results. We must make ourselves quiet from within so that the reality can appear fully through that which really is and not as it appears, disfigured through all the talk, in the rumors, by the dominant ideology. This active effort to practice silence slowly produces the stripping away of false ideas, of the dominant ideology, of preconceived notions that we have in our heads. It gives birth to a just vision of things. To cultivate silence creates justice within us.
In that moment in which the ideological garbage, that gives a false and artificial view of reality, is dismantled in our heads, only then is this heavy burden lifted from us. It is as if we suddenly wake from a dream and we are confronted with living in a situation of death without an escape and that calls for change and conversion. In that moment, everything is silence within us. The chatter is finished. We become unable to speak. We lose the arguments that were supporting us. It is a moment of crisis. This moment of confrontation with the situation of death silences us and is the first step in prophetic silence, which the Rule of Carmel speaks of. It is the fruit of our activity that makes us cease the chatter of propaganda, of ingenuity without a conscience.
Testo estratto dall’articolo "IL PROFETA ELIA E IL SILENZIO PROFETICO" In: MADONNA DEL CARMINE, novembre-dicembre 2002, http://www.madonnadelcarmine.net/italiano/rivista/archivio/04.html
Brief News Items
USG CD for Formation of Justice and Peace Workers
The group of Spanish-Portuguese promoters of Justice and Peace, connected with the Union of Superiors General, in Rome, has produced a CD-Rom containing a formation program for promoters of Justice and Peace.
The CD is available in Spanish. It is possible to obtain a copy through the Secretariat for Justice and Peace in Rome. For more information, contact Antonio Silvio da Costa Junior, at the Carmelite Curia or through email (email@example.com) and ask for "Taller de Formación para Promotores/as de JPIC" 2003.
The group of Justice and Peace advocates for ecology, connected to the Union of Superiors General, in Rome, has published a booklet on ways religious can reflect on the theme of water. This publication is available in various languages. To obtain a copy, send an email request to: firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for the publication "Our Sister Water" 2003. It is also possible to download the publication through the website: www.ofm-jpic.org/aqua
We wish to point out some important dates to remember in our reflection and prayers: December 1: Day of Against AIDS; January 13: Anniversary of the death of "Frei Caneca," a Carmelite priest and national hero in Brazil who defended liberty and civil rights; the year 2004 has been declared by the UN as ‘International Year of Rice," the most consumed food in the world. The theme invites a reflection on the problem of hunger and justice in the production of food.
We recommend the site of Justice and Peace from the Franciscans, a mendicant Order like us, in three languages (English, Italian and Spanish)
Carmelite NGO - carmelites.info/ngo - with links to: