Education and Conflict

Good Day Brothers and Sisters !   May the Lord give us his peace. 

Today, I take a break from my Gospel reflections in order to share some personal insight. 

I have recently been engaged in launch of a new Ministry whose goal it is to feed the homeless, and reconnect them with the Body of Christ.   The idea being that people would make up small bags of food, and carry them in their cars and pass them out to people they find on the roadside.     Bags would contain a note of encouragement, and an invitation to come and be reconnected to the Body of Christ in our parish.  A list of other ministries in the parish would also be included so that they could avail themselves of any of those other ministries that the church offers.

Sounds good, right ?  Its a good idea.  It needs to be done.  Based in the corporal works of mercy.   Got the Pastors blessing.  Everything is great.   I am going on about my business, and all of a sudden I become aware through one of my friends that  I have offended some of the people who work in our food pantry ministry.      Why ?  Because I didnt spend the time to communicate with them.  I did not take the time to learn more about what they were doing before hand, and I didnt explain to them what I was doing before I announced it to the general population.  

My mother used to say that life is a matter of perspectives.  What seemed perfectly wonderful to some, is not so great to others even if they are looking at the same thing.    Great !  Can we fix everything ?  No.  Can we lessen the damage ? Yes.    Education is the key !      To solve conflict it is necessary to at least attempt to change some of both perspectives.  To walk a mile in the other persons moccasins so to speak.   

In this case, the new ministry through the perspective of  the existing  Food Pantry Ministry,  was invading into their territory, and the verbage of the announcement to the church made it sound, to some , that they were not doing all that they could.   Nothing could be farther from the truth.    In truth, there are people who have worked tirelessly in that ministry for decades and it is evolving and flourishing quite nicely.      More than anything was the fact that no one communicated with them to explain what was going on and why.   That responsiblity rested on my shoulders.

Education AND communication are the keys to many issues.    It is the responsibility of everyone to learn as much as we can before engaging in some task the Lord has put before us.   At the same time,  before all things to spend time communicating  as much as possible.    In this case, I thought I had all the bases covered.  I prayed out it, I spoke to the pastor and got his advice and direction,  submitted all the paperwork for his review,  made all the arrangements I needed to in order to make the meetings happen.    I failed to communicate with those people in other ministries that were closest to what I was trying to accomplish.   

All in all, It is not that the damage is irreparable.  But now I will have to go back and mend the fences that were broken due to a lack of communication and understanding.    

The same things apply in any conflict.  In your daily walk, you will come through many conflicts.  yours and others.  The Franciscan path is to be the peacemaker.  ” Make me a channel of your peace…” is not just a pretty song or prayer.  It is a challenge for each of us to go out into the world and, starting with our own paths, be peacemakers.   To reconcile the perspectives and to shine the light of truth on the subject at hand.  Dialogue should bring out an understanding of the others perspective and lead to peace.

My the Lord give you the gift of his peace… to share along your journey.


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