"Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." Jesus' words are clear. Yet for centuries we as Church and as individuals have made exceptions to this command to love and peace; we seek the goal of peace but avoid the means of peace. Of Passion and Folly presents the challenging call of Christ to love in all times and in all places, and reminds us that from the folly of the cross in the passion of Jesus, peace was born, and it can be born again.
In Of Passion and Folly Sister Patricia McCarthy, CND, demonstrates that—through Scripture, the sacraments, the formation of the conscience through prayer and action, and in community with each other, we can walk along Jesus' way, the way of peace. She opens the door to a transformation from violence to peace by emphasizing the need for education in the spirituality rooted in the Gospel and in the tradition and sacramental life of the Church.
The underlying conviction Sister Patricia brings to Of Passion and Folly is that the work of peace is integral to the message of Christ's teachings and life. The spirituality of peace, which cannot co-exist with violence of any kind, is found within the gospel although it has often been buried under the just war tradition of our Church. In order to be whole in our response to Jesus Christ, she challenges us to reexamine our attitudes and be willing to re-look at prayer, the sacraments, Eucharist, penance, business practices, social life, parenting, lifestyles, and consumerism in light of Jesus' command to love one another, even our enemies. We must also be willing to take war, violence, injustice, racism, hatred, and revenge and measure them against the standards of Christ.
Sister Patricia draws upon her firsthand experience of the violence which surrounds and overwhelms our world today. She points out that although Christians believe the resurrection of Christ has conquered the violence we experience today, we need direction to live as people of the resurrection. Of Passion and Folly provides that direction. Written for a Catholic audience, it is a valuable tool for directors of adult education in parishes, for teachers and chaplains in high schools and colleges, for those involved in the RCIA, and for peace action groups.
Of Passion and Folly helps us move from merely desiring peace to deliberately choosing peace. The basis of our choice is awareness of our call to peace, a call given us in baptism, strengthened in confirmation, renewed in confession, and nourished in Eucharist. Union with the one who came among us as the Prince of Peace is the goal of a life of peace.
Patricia McCarthy, CND, has worked as an educator with the poor, particularly with abused and emotionally disturbed children, for over twenty years. She gives lectures, courses, and retreats on the theology and spirituality of Christian nonviolence to students, adult education classes, parish groups, school faculties, and religious communities throughout the U.S., Canada, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Japan, and Bosnia-Herzogovina. The Liturgical Press also published her book The Scent of Jasmine: Reflections for Peace in Everyday Life.