Friday, August 12, 2005

Robert Cushing: Man of Conscience

If we let people see that kind of thing, there would never again be any war.

~Pentagon official explaining why the U.S. military censored graphic footage from the Gulf War

Fr. Robert Cushing has been relieved of his duties at his Augusta, GA. Parish.


Because he was so moved through meeting survivors of the A-bomb blasts in Nagasaki and Hiroshima, that he went to Japan to apologize for the dropping of those bombs.

Rather than applauding him and following in his footsteps, defensive members in the Parish, operating out of misplaced patriotism and in opposition to Christ's message of love and mercy, have created turmoil in the Parish with insistence that he be fired.

Yet, Liberty and democracy become unholy when their hands are dyed red with innocent blood. ~Gandhi, Non-violence in Peace and War, 1948

And to justify the dropping of an atomic bomb is to assure that we are not ruling it out for the future.

As Pope John Paul II said in a speech at the U.N.; Will... the threat of common extermination continue?... Must children receive the arms race from us as a necessary inheritance?

No. We can change.

In considering how we may change, I offer you a verse from Rumi, the most popular poet in North America today, thanks to the translations by Coleman Banks.

Rum talks about the timeless questions in life: uniting with our Creator, learning love, compassion and forgiveness.

In The Worm's Waking he shows us the goal toward which we are striving: to understand we are one with our Creator.

When we finally "get" that, we will revere all that we see and lose our addictions to violence and over consumption.

When we truly feel our oneness with God, we will be empty of the desire to destroy others "to be safe" because we will understand we can never achieve safety by killing a part of God.

The Worm's Waking

This is how a human being can change:

there's a worm addicted to eating
grape leaves.

Suddenly, he wakes up,
call it grace, whatever, something
wakes him, and he's no longer
a worm.

He's the entire vineyard,
and the orchard too, the fruit, the trunks,
a growing wisdom and joy
that doesn't need
to devour.

- Rumi, in The Essential Rumi as translated by Coleman Banks

And in the words of Jesus:

Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.

Judge not, and you shall not be judged.

Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned.

Forgive and you will be forgiven.

If you feel so moved, write a letter or call Fr. Michael Roverse in support of Fr. Cushing. Encourage him to be brave, trust in Christ and reinstate Fr. Cushing.

St. Teresa of Avila Church
211 Pleasant Home Road
Augusta, Georgia 30907-3517
(706) 863-0252

Please also pray for the resolution of this terrible - and foolish - rift in a church over a man of God being merciful and practicing compassion.

- Peace be with you


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