Life is Nourished in Peace

This is the time of year when thoughts turn to planting of seeds and to growth. There is a biological definition of 'seed' meaning embryo which is characteristic of reproduction. Every physical seed that you harvest and hold in your hand is life held in store: a marvelous design just waiting for fulfillment. The seed 'waits' until unheralded graces provide the necessary conditions for germination. These include a suitable soil, the circumstance of the right season, and a myriad of proper conditions such as temperature, sunlight and water.

Human life has an even more complex and fragile set of circumstances and conditions necessary for its fulfillment. Peace is one indispensible condition for the fulfillment of the seed of human life. The Catechism tells us that…

"Respect for and development of human life requires peace'. Peace is not merely the absence of war,[…]. Peace cannot be attained on earth without the safeguarding the goods of persons, free communication among men, respect for the dignity of persons and peoples, and the assiduous practice of fraternity. Peace is 'the tranquility of order'. Peace is the work of justice and the effect of charity" [CCC 2304].

I fear we're tempted to think of peace as a naturally occurring substance; omnipresent unless some wrongdoer interferes with its generation. It's 'just there when it's there'; very much taken for granted. But 'peace' itself must be planted, cultivated and grown: as such we need to take the view of the farmer who dedicates his very self to producing nourishment for others. Note that the farmer makes purposeful intent to grow and produce his harvest: his method is a far cry from our ancient ancestor who took to gathering whatever they could find. Relying only upon a supply of naturally occurring 'peace' is as detrimental to the wellbeing of a civilization as relying upon an uncultivated, naturally occurring supply of food.

Have we considered establishing projects modeling the Agricultural Extension Service as a way to practically enhance our "cultivation of the seeds of peace?" It's a useful comparison; as there is much need to learn good propagation techniques; and there are 'natural enemies to peace'. Just as in agriculture, pests and diseases make the growth of 'peace' a struggle and labor. Some of these pests and diseases are poorly formed human attitudes and behaviors which run about like the 'evil sower', casting weeds among the good wheat. This must be confronted and controlled: in a peaceful manner of course.

In an age of advanced development and high interconnectivity we need 'peace' more than ever in superabundance. It seems that some are content to gather only the naturally occurring 'peace'. We must convert them and seek their enlistment in our cause. Christians in particular need to take up the vocation of peacemakers (or shall we call ourselves peace farmers).

There is a secondary meaning in which 'seed' is seen as the 'source of something': the source of a significant change in outlook or action. Some readers might look upon this change and cast 'seeds of doubt or skepticism'. My hope and endeavor is that we will begin to take the cultivation of peace as seriously as we do other of life's necessities. If I were to title an introductory meditation or study for this 'Agricultural Extension Service of Peace', it would be: Peace is Gathered as a Harvest – Life is Nourished in Peace. I hope you will add other titles or comments to develop the program.

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