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The Alphabet of Lent – Letter C

C for Calm

Daily life often brings much to upset our plans and shake us.
All that we had foreseen to do and all that suddenly comes up – this is all too much.
And apart from all the activities of the moment, there are those that we must foresee.

We feel upset, threatened, overwhelmed.
We are often tired, bitter, anxious.
We experience the feeling of being caught… in a storm.
We need so much… CALM.  

It is then that the gospel text of Mark comes to our rescue: 
 
“They took him along, just as he was, in the boat…
 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.   
Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion.
The disciples woke him and said to him,
“Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!”  
Then the wind died down and it was completely calm” (Mark 4:36-39).

Exactly what we need at certain periods in our lives.
And the one who calm the storm on the Sea of Galilea can do the same with all our own storms –
the storms of our fears, our regrets, our weaknesses, our guilt no matter how heavy.

The calm that he offers brings peace and serenity… a great calm, indeed!
 

Note: In the following video (in French), Teresa Peñafiel helps us to continue this reflection: https://youtu.be/54Z7yFrLzyE?si=yQOOtZ1L6jIZnKfA

 

Source: Image: Scripture Images

 

World Day of Peace – 1st January 2024

World Day of Peace, celebrated on January 1 every year, is primarily a Catholic feast day dedicated to universal peace on the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. On this occasion, Popes generally make authoritative declarations on the Catholic Social Teachings (C.S.T.). The theme of the feast has always been about creating a culture of care. The Pope and the Vatican Church stress the need to care and share tolerance for each other, and to create a society that focuses on good moral values and does not yield to the temptation to disregard others. The benefits of a peaceful society have been the emphasis of every year’s World Day of Peace.

Source: Text: https://nationaltoday.com/world-day-of-peace/

This year, the Pope has focused his message on a very important development for humanity: artificial intelligence. He addresses all  of us with these words:

« It is my prayer at the start of the New Year that the rapid development of forms of artificial intelligence will not increase cases of inequality and injustice all too present in today’s world, but will help put an end to wars and conflicts, and alleviate many forms of suffering that afflict our human family. May Christian believers, followers of various religions and men and women of good will work together in harmony to embrace the opportunities and confront the challenges posed by the digital revolution and thus hand on to future generations a world of greater solidarity, justice and peace. »

FRANCISCUS

Source: Text:https://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/messages/peace/documents/20231208    Image: Catholic Standard

 

International Day of Human Space Flight – 12 April

The International Day of Human Space Flight celebrates the start of the space era for humankind, reaffirming the important contribution of space science and technology in today’s world. The day also aims to promote aspirations to explore and maintain outer space for peaceful purposes.

Background

April 12, 1961, was the date of the first human space flight, carried out by Yuri Gagarin. This historic event opened the way for space exploration. In 2011 the UN declared April 12 as the “International Day of Human Space Flight” to remember the first human space flight and to promote the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes and to the benefit of humankind.

 

Source: Text: https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/un/space-flight-day       Image: Wikipedia

International Day of Sport for Development and Peace – 6 April 2023

« Sport has the power to align our passion, energy and enthusiasm around a collective cause. And that is precisely when hope can be nurtured and trust can be regained. It is in our collective interest to harness the tremendous power of sport to help build a better and more sustainable future for all. »

– UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed

Scoring for People and the Planet

The International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP), which takes place annually on 6 April, presents an opportunity to recognize the positive role sport and physical activity play in communities and in people’s lives across the globe.

Sport has the power to change the world; it is a fundamental right and a powerful tool to strengthen social ties and promote sustainable development and peace, as well as solidarity and respect for all.

The global theme for the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace 2023 is “Scoring for People and the Planet”. As in previous years, this overarching theme allows for IDSDP activities to broadly focus around the impact and influence of sport on sustainable development and peace.

From empowering women and girls, young people, persons with disabilities, and other marginalized groups to advancing health, sustainability, and education objectives, sport offers tremendous potential for advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and for promoting peace and human rights. The United Nations has long recognized the power and universality of sport, using it to unite individuals and groups through supporting sport for development efforts, participating in events from the global to the grassroots level, and developing its own sports-related campaigns and initiatives.

 

Source: Text & Image: https://www.un.org/en/observances/sport-day

International Day of Conscience – 5 ِApril


Promoting a Culture of Peace with Love and Conscience

The preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that « disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of humankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people. » Moreover, article 1 of the Declaration states that « all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. »

The task of the United Nations to save future generations from the scourge of war requires transformation towards a culture of peace, which consists of values, attitudes and behaviours that reflect and inspire social interaction and sharing based on the principles of freedom, justice and democracy, all human rights, tolerance and solidarity, that reject violence and endeavour to prevent conflicts by tackling their root causes to solve problems through dialogue and negotiation and that guarantee the full exercise of all rights and the means to participate fully in the development process of their society.

Origins of a Culture of Peace

The concept of a culture of peace emerged from the International Congress on Peace in the Minds of Men, organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Côte d’Ivoire in July 1989. Since then the promotion of a culture of peace has increasingly been seen as a worthwhile objective of the international community. The evolving concept has inspired activities at so many levels and in so many regions with the full participation of civil society that the culture of peace is gradually taking on the characteristics of a global movement.

 

Source: Text (abridged) & Image: https://www.un.org/en/observances/conscience    Photo: UN Photo/Mohamad Almahady People taking part in activities related to the Peace and Peaceful Coexistence Festival organized by the Communication and Public Information Section of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID).

 

World Radio Day – 13 February 2023

The theme for the 12th edition of the World Radio Day, to be celebrated on 13 February 2023, is « Radio and Peace« . 

War, as an antonym to peace, signifies an armed conflict between countries or groups within a country, but may also translate into a conflict of media narratives. The narrative can increase tensions or maintain conditions for peace in a given context – for instance weigh in on the rough or smooth conduct of elections, the rejection or integration of returnees, the rise or tempering of nationalistic fervour, etc. In reporting and informing the general public, radio stations shape public opinion and frame a narrative that can influence domestic and international situations and decision-making processes.

Radio can indeed fuel conflict but in reality, professional radio moderates conflict and/or tensions, preventing their escalation or bringing about reconciliation and reconstruction talks. In contexts of distant or immediate tension, relevant programmes and independent news reporting provide the foundation for sustainable democracy and good governance by gathering evidence about what is happening, informing citizens about it in impartial and fact-based terms, explaining what is at stake and brokering dialogue among different groups in society.

“… since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed.”

That is the reason why support to independent radio has to be viewed as an integral part of peace and stability. On World Radio Day 2023, UNESCO highlights independent radio as a pillar for conflict prevention and peacebuilding.

 

Source: Text & Image: https://www.unesco.org/en/days/world-radio

3rd Sunday of Advent, Year A – 2022-2023

Reading God’s message week after week, we are sometimes struck by an idea.
A short text perhaps, or even a single verse, can draw our attention and… we remain there.
It seems that we cannot keep on reading…
We are caught by something which has touched us in a special way.

This is the case, this Sunday, with the words of the prophet Isaiah telling us (Isaiah 35:1-6,10):

        “Courage! Do not be afraid.
        Look your God is coming…
        He is coming to save you.”
 
Salvation is a word with meaning of different kinds:

  • salvation from a painful situation, or a real threat,
  • salvation from a serious disease, or a loss of some kind,
  • salvation from an enemy, an attacker,
  • salvation from crippling feelings – helplessness, guilt, shame…

We often hear the word salvation in relation to our sins – the situation of being estranged from God.
We are aware that we need help…
Where will it come from?

Isaiah assures us that our God is coming.
God HIMSELF is the one who will rescue us from whatever threatens us.

Is this not amazing?
God has not sent an angel, he did not ask a great prophet, or another saintly personage, to save us.
He has chosen to come HIMSELF – in Jesus – to free us from whatever prevents us from:

  • being the people he wants us to be,
  • living in close friendship with him.

God HIMSELF… I keep repeating these words and I marvel at the reality they express…
I can count on him, I can rely on him, for whatever I need to be truly the person he had in mind when he created me.

So, no fear or anxiety, only peace and serenity…
A comforting message in this period of Advent…

 

Note: Another text is available on a different theme, in French at:  https://image-i-nations.com/3e-dimanche-de-lavent-annee-a-2022-2023/

 

Source: Image: Knowledge of Him

 

World Television Day – 21 November

In recognition of the increasing impact television has on decision-making by bringing world attention to conflicts and threats to peace and security and its potential role in sharpening the focus on other major issues, including economic and social issues, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 21 November as World Television Day (through resolution 51/205 of 17 December 1996).

World Television Day is not so much a celebration of the tool, but rather the philosophy which it represents. Television represents a symbol for communication and globalization in the contemporary world.

On 21 and 22 November 1996 the United Nations held the first World Television Forum, where leading media figures met under the auspices of the United Nations to discuss the growing significance of television in today’s changing world and to consider how they might enhance their mutual cooperation. That is why the General Assembly decided to proclaim 21 November as World Television Day.

This was done in recognition of the increasing impact television has on the process of decision-making. Television was thus acknowledged as a major tool in informing, channelling and affecting public opinion. Its impact and presence and its influence on world politics could not be denied.

 

Source: Text: UN    Image: Freepik

 

World Science Day for Peace and Development – 10 November

Celebrated every 10 November, World Science Day for Peace and Development highlights the significant role of science in society and the need to engage the wider public in debates on emerging scientific issues. It also underlines the importance and relevance of science in our daily lives.

By linking science more closely with society, World Science Day for Peace and Development aims to ensure that citizens are kept informed of developments in science. It also underscores the role scientists play in broadening our understanding of the remarkable, fragile planet we call home and in making our societies more sustainable.

‘The applications of basic sciences are vital for advances in medicine, industry, agriculture, water resources, energy planning, environment, communications and culture’, affirmed the United Nations General Assembly on 2 December 2021, when it endorsed the proposal for an International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development. World Science Day is contributing to the Year in 2022 by celebrating this theme.

‘We need more basic science to achieve The 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals’, the United Nations General Assembly noted in December 2021. It is true that the share of domestic research expenditure devoted to basic sciences varies widely from one country to another. According to data from the UNESCO Science Report 2021 for 86 countries, some devote less than 10% of their research expenditure to basic sciences and others more than 30%.

Having a capacity in basic sciences is in the interests of both developed and developing countries, given the potential for applications to foster sustainable development and raise standards of living. For example, a growing number of people around the world suffer from diabetes. Thanks to laboratory studies of the ways in which genes can be manipulated to make specific protein molecules, scientists are able to engineer genetically a common bacterium, Escherichia coli, to produce synthetic human insulin.

 

Source: Text: https://www.un.org/en/observances/world-science-day    Image: news 18.com

 

Conflict Resolution Day – 20 October 2022

Conflict Resolution Day is observed on the third Thursday of October every year, falling on October 20 this year. Conflicts tend to arise in many areas of our lives, such as workplaces, relationships, and families. It is an unavoidable process of life. What is important, however, is how we resolve it. Conflict resolution does not have to be nasty; it can be resolved through peaceful methods.

HISTORY OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION DAY

In any relationship, disagreement is unavoidable, and possessing the ability to peacefully resolve it when it arises becomes necessary. Conflicts arise because humans have needs, and in a bid to satisfy their individual needs and interests, disputes occur because of clashes of interests. These conflicts can arise between family or friends. It is in consideration of the above that the Association for Conflict Resolution (A.C.R.) established in 2005 what we now know as Conflict Resolution Day.

In inaugurating this important day, A.C.R. highlighted promoting awareness of mediation, arbitration, conciliation, and other creative, peaceful methods of resolving conflict as the motive behind its formation. Also, promoting conflict resolution in schools, families, businesses, communities, governments, and the legal system. The day also seeks to recognize the significant contributions of peaceful conflict resolvers and to obtain national synergy by having celebrations happen across the country and around the world on the same day.

Conflict Resolution Day, which has now been celebrated for over 15 years, coincides with the ABA Mediation Week of the American Bar Association. The week was created to build on the efforts of many other national, state, and local organizations, including the Association for Conflict Resolution. The ABA and A.C.R., along with other organizations, raise awareness about the importance of mediation and conflict resolution.

 

Source: Text & Image: https://nationaltoday.com/conflict-resolution-day