Fiat and Peace

Antonio Zebedeo Abad

We opened the new year with the solemnity of Mary the Mother of God. In contrast to the lack of trust and naivete of the people, she put her trust in God (Luke 1:38) imparted through the Angel Gabriel (Luke 1:28). Therein we see the fiat of Mary. From that Latin word, we have other variants like fidelity, confidence, and the motto of the US Marines, Semper Fidelis or Semper Fi, meaning always faithful. God gave humanity free will. What if she said no? That would have completely changed the course of history.

The Advent season culminated with the theme of peace.

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6

Twenty years ago on New Year’s Day 2002, Pope Saint John Paul II delivered a message on the World Day of Peace in the shadow of the tragic events of 9/11.

The theme of his message was: “No Peace Without Justice; No Justice Without Forgiveness”. He says:

The history of salvation, narrated in Sacred Scripture, sheds clear light on the entire history of the world and shows us that human events are always accompanied by the merciful Providence of God, who knows how to touch even the most hardened of hearts and bring good fruits even from what seems utterly barren soil. 

This is the hope which sustains the Church at the beginning of 2002: that, by the grace of God, a world in which the power of evil seems once again to have taken the upper hand will in fact be transformed into a world in which the noblest aspirations of the human heart will triumph, a world in which true peace will prevail. 

It is precisely this hope that we intend to proclaim in Assisi, asking Almighty God—in the beautiful phrase attributed to Saint Francis himself—to make each of us a channel of his peace.

Forgiveness is not a proposal that can be immediately understood or easily accepted; in many ways it is a paradoxical message. Forgiveness in fact always involves an apparent short-term loss for a real long-term gain. Violence is the exact opposite; opting as it does for an apparent short‑term gain, it involves a real and permanent loss. Forgiveness may seem like weakness, but it demands great spiritual strength and moral courage, both in granting it and in accepting it. It may seem in some way to diminish us, but in fact it leads us to a fuller and richer humanity, more radiant with the splendor of the Creator. 

The Ancient Greeks thousands of years ago developed the discipline of Logic determining truth through reasoning. One example of a logical fallacy (a statement that is false) is a red herring that diverts the discussion away from the issue to avoid further discussion on the topic itself.

Let me illustrate. A team leader says to his team member, “That wasn’t very nice of you to embarrass your teammate at our meeting. What’s going on?” The team member responds, “Didn’t you know that she’s actually not doing her job and has ulterior motives?” The discussion then diverts to the ulterior motives away from the topic of embarrassing the team member. These situations happen at work many times. A team leader who knows his logic would have detected this fallacy and refocused the discussion on the main topic.

Where are we today? Has humanity built upon the discipline of Logic that the Ancient Greeks had refined? Very few today study the discipline of logic. Only those in the philosophical fields are required any course in logic. Even those in computer programming who depend so much on logic not only in programs but interactions with coworkers have not required any course in logic, nor do they have the desire and interest.

Attorneys in a court proceeding could not raise objections based on logical fallacies, but only on violation of court rules, such as opposing counsel not establishing a foundation of facts prior to the argument, or for being argumentative. With the limited time for cross-examination, there may not be a chance to rebut until the closing statement. It is then up to the wisdom of the judge to discern. There are many issues that can be resolved peacefully by logical reasoning that seeks the truth.

Recently, we’ve had a Tacoma victory in an author who was a television cameraman and wrote a novel in the 1960s that recently was made into a motion picture. I’ve heard people brag about it, so even if I rarely go to the movies or watch television anymore, I went to see it in the theater. It has been a very long time since I was into science fiction movies.

As I was watching the movie, I somehow regretted going. Don’t get me wrong, the movie-making was excellent. Rather, it was the story that disappointed me, especially after having abstained from science fiction for 30 years and immersed myself in the Word of God.

There is a common theme in many of these stories in this genre of science fiction. There are advances in technology, lifestyle, transport, and weaponry. The last one is the disappointing part. The movie depicted warfare, deceit, and survival of the ablest for leadership. I could have gone to a Shakespeare play and seen all of those elements of human drama. Has humanity progressed or digressed?

Every year, we prepare for the coming of the Prince of Peace with hope, love, joy, peace, and total trust or fiat that His will be done. Yet, we see these stories of science friction set so many thousands of years into the future where we haven’t forgiven to achieve justice and peace. I’m going to be even more selective now on the themes of the motion pictures I watch, especially those of the genre of science friction.

Let us ask God to make each of us a channel of His peace. Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.

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