Developing Peace Spirituality & Theology
Pax Christi’s Spirituality: A Source of Inspiration for a Collective Journey Towards a Peaceful Future
For the past few years, Pax Christi International has been consciously inviting people in our movement around the world to share their spiritual journeys in whatever ways they can. Bringing together the stories of grassroots people and their communities, we have begun to capture the complexity of human experiences that take place in a world where war, conflict and violence exist alongside hope, peace and reconciliation. We undertake this effort to understand how people act in a given situation, but also to ponder their reflections on the use of violence and the option of employing methods of active nonviolence in a given situation.
By developing a spirituality and theology of peace, Pax Christi International aims to bring into public and political arenas moral and ethical principles on the issues of war, violence, justice, and peace.
We are convinced that a developed peace spirituality and theology will give rise to motivations and orientations for a closer cooperation in the promotion of justice and peace. People long for a spirituality of peace, for fulfilment and meaning, and Pax Christi International offers a forum in which people can grow towards this goal.
Pax Christi International draws its inspiration primarily from the Holy Scriptures and the Social Teachings of the Church; however, it is also influenced by witnesses such as “Gandhi the Peacemaker”, “Franz Jägerstätter –the Martyr of Objection of Conscience”, “Martin Luther King Jr. and his Dream of a Just Society”, “Archbishop Oscar Romero and the Struggle for Nonviolence and Justice”, and many more.
Pax Christi members find inspiration in the Christian roots and tradition of the movement as well as in the dialogue and cooperation with others from different spiritual orientations.
Pax Christi fosters the development of ”peace spirituality" through prayer and theological reflection, retreats, pilgrimages, and acts of prophetic witness. Prayer opens the heart not only to a deep relationship with God, but also to an encounter with others, marked by respect, understanding, esteem and love.
Many member organisations produce liturgical resources for parishes and communities, promote the Pope’s World Day of Prayer for Peace (1st January) and the International Day for Prayers for Peace on the 21st of September. Masses and liturgies are held on International Days such as the Annual Day for Human Rights on the 10th of December.
Using the language of symbols, some Pax Christi sections capture what is meant by their “spirituality”. This selection of images begins with the icon, “Christ is our Reconciliation”, painted specially for Pax Christi International. To view the various Pax Christi Symbols, click on the link to 'symbols.'
Since the beginning, Pax Christi has sustained attention to the spirituality that nourishes our movement and has an impact on the priorities and effectiveness of our work for peace. This spirituality, with roots in, for example, the dignity of every person, active nonviolence, reconciliation and the gift of diversity is richly influenced by the Catholic tradition in which our movement has been nourished. Almost every member organization of Pax Christi International produces culturally and contextually appropriate resources for personal and communal prayer and integrates prayer, reflection and sacramental expression into their programs on a regular basis.
Pax Christi International has issued its second collection of stories and reflections on how people around the world respond in faith to violence. This resource’s “stepping stones” describe Pax Christi’s vision and mission and begin to articulate a spirituality of peace rooted in the lived experiences of persons and communities engaged with the Pax Christi International movement worldwide.
In 2012 we published a new resource in English including fragments of Pax Christi’s second collection of stories and reflections. The first, ‘We are God’s hand of solidarity – How Pax Christi Member Organisations in Latin America and the Caribbean live their Spirituality for Peace’ was published in 2011 and is available in Spanish, English and French.
In May 2012, we brought together superiors from religious congregations in Rome to reflect and share their stories and spiritual journeys.
Publication of the book ‘How Pax Christi Member Organisations worldwide live their Spirituality for Peace as source of inspiration for a journey towards a peaceful future’. The stories, voices and insights were gathered from Pax Christi Members in Latin America & the Caribbean, North America, Asia-Pacific, Africa the Middle East, and Europe, as well as from various regional meetings.
To further develop peace spirituality, Pax Christi International plans to have a medium on the new website where Members Organisations can reflect and share their stories. There may also be a map developed to display activities completed by MOs based around peace spirituality.
Pax Christi also plans to hold workshops and forums on peace spirituality, in addition to hosting regional pilgrimages on peace spirituality for international members.