January 11, 2019

Be Our Guest / Andrew Costello

Ushering in peace during the new year and beyond

Andrew CostelloI am tired of the violence. Around Thanksgiving, one of my fraternity brothers was shot during an attempted robbery in the Castleton area of Indianapolis. This remains very unsettling to me, being a new father and having a residence less than three miles from where the shooting took place.

Unfortunately, there has been more and more violence in Indianapolis the last few years, and it needs to stop. According to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, there were 161 homicides during 2018. Being personally affected by acts of theft, vandalism and the murder of a family friend, I felt like I needed to offer some suggestions for us as a people of faith to stop the bloodshed.

First, we need to pray. I recently saw a bumper sticker in a gas station that read, “Prayer changes things.”

I personally have witnessed the transformative power of prayer, whether it be the curing of a terrible disease or the softening of my own heart when dealing with someone with whom I have a hard time loving.

We need to pray for our leaders, our law enforcement officials, our firefighters, our military, our neighbors, our co-workers, our families, our friends and many others.

Offer a prayer if you see flashing emergency vehicle lights or if you witness a terrible accident. Pray for the individual begging for food on the side of the road if you are unable to help them. Pray for a family member or friend with whom you are at odds. I know I would want someone praying for me in that moment if I were in trouble. As Pope St. John Paul the Great once said of the rosary, “Today I willingly entrust to the power of this prayer … the cause of peace in the world and the cause of the family” (“Rosarium Virginis Mariae,” #39).

Second, we need to be people of service. Going out and volunteering helps us realize that there is something greater than ourselves, helps quell our own selfishness and strengthens our character.

After volunteering at the St. Vincent DePaul food pantry, I always walk away invigorated and thankful that I had the opportunity to share God’s gifts with his people. There are also various organizations across the city, such as Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, which can help us take pride in our surroundings and show care for God’s creation. Volunteering with Catholic Charities’ refugee or other various outreach programs promotes peace in the lives of many individuals who are escaping or trying to overcome a troubled or dangerous past. Ultimately, service helps us be people of gratitude and peace amidst a chaotic world.

Lastly, we need to pay attention to detail. We need to realize that the small, everyday decisions we make are indicative our character and integrity. These decisions also greatly affect the people around us.

To illustrate this point, I recall a time when I was almost hit by someone who ran a red light near the intersection of Fall Creek Parkway and Keystone Avenue in 2015. Providentially, I was able to stop in the middle of the intersection and avoid a likely horrific accident. As our Lord stated in the parable of the dishonest steward, “The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones” (Lk 16:10).

This idea has many great applications, from obeying traffic signals to obeying our civic duty to vote and pay taxes. If we do our best to be people of sound morals and integrity, then it creates a ripple effect in our own communities. If we are mindful of others on a small scale, then this mindfulness will cover a very broad spectrum.

Our Lady, Queen of Peace, pray for us!
 

(Andrew Costello is a member of St. Joan of Arc Parish in Indianapolis. He can be reached at operationleftover@gmail.com.)

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