Spreading peace, not violence in our lives - Catholic Courier
Father Tony Mugavero and Father Robert Werth speak about violence in the City of Rochester. (Courier file photos)

Father Tony Mugavero and Father Robert Werth speak about violence in the City of Rochester. (Courier file photos)

Spreading peace, not violence in our lives

In compiling a recent Catholic Courier feature on spikes in homicides both locally and nationally, I was moved by Father Tony Mugavero and Father Bob Werth’s exhortations for us all to help reverse those trends by living peacefully and positively.

Their words reminded me that although I don’t consider myself an outwardly violent person, I still can stand to improve my demeanor in ways that deter the promotion of violence. That’s not necessarily a simple task, since my Italian background lends itself to occasionally expressing myself, shall we say, rather passionately!

How do I react when someone cuts me off in traffic? Do I feel my blood pressure rise when somebody expresses a political, social or religious viewpoint that I oppose? Do I ever raise my voice unnecessarily?

Am I quicker to criticize, or to compliment? How long do slights and hurts fester inside of me, knowing that holding on to them can alter the course of a relationship, perhaps even permanently?

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found myself reflecting more deeply on whether past feelings and expressions of anger were always worth it. Sure, a good venting can help unload all that irritation bottled up inside. But how do those outbursts affect the folks who witness it — especially the direct recipients of my anger?

During my interview with Father Mugavero, he cited the Prayer of St. Francis in stressing the trickle effect of being instruments of peace — spreading love where there’s hatred, light where there’s darkness. Knowing that a trend in the opposite direction is much more likely to result in violence, either directly or indirectly, I resolve to embed the messages of Fathers Mugavero and Werth more deeply into my consciousness.

A peaceful Thanksgiving to all!

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