Could Lord Byron, British poet of the 19th century, have foreseen the dangers of today?
Darkness by Lord Byron
I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguish’d, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;
Morn came and went—and came, and brought no day,
And men forgot their passions in the dread
Of this their desolation; and all hearts
Were chill’d into a selfish prayer for light:
And they did live by watchfires—and the thrones,
The palaces of crowned kings—the huts,
The habitations of all things which dwell,
Were burnt for beacons; cities were consumed,
And men were gather’d round their blazing homes
To look once more into each other’s face; . . .
Oh Divine Mystery of Life, teach us to look once more into each other’s faces and to see there the love and peace that were meant to be. Teach us to find the inner face of each person we meet, the inner beauty of each creature we see, the inner light of the one Earth Community.
Let us ponder the words of Maryknoll Sister Elizabeth Zwareva, spoken at the United Nations in August of 2014:
“The bomb that exploded over Hiroshima consisted of enriched uranium 235 and the one that exploded over Nagasaki consisted of plutonium 239, a by-product of uranium. These bombs had immediate as well as long term effects on the environment as well as on human health. The atomic bombs’ sudden, intense and dramatic effects have left indelible memories of death, destruction and horror among the Japanese peoples of the world. People in the affected areas still suffer from the effects of fallout. …
“The results of scientific research that goes unaccompanied by ethical reflection can be disastrous. The God-given ability to reflect upon our actions and how they affect others is the way to curb those actions that cause harm …. By so doing we are accepting life, respecting it and acting in ways that will promote and not destroy it … The destructive force of nuclear weapons is incompatible with the principle of bringing about good, avoiding harm and acting justly.
“As Jesus said, ‘I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.’ Our duty then is to save ourselves and future generations from perishing from the monster of our own creation through embracing humility and loving life.” [i]
[i] The cited piece was published in theNovember-December 2014 Maryknoll NewsNotes.
Source of Hope and Truth, help us to find our voices as did Father George Zabelka, the Catholic Air Force chaplain, who blessed the men who dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, yet who came to believe his silent complicity had been terribly wrong. On the 40th anniversary of the bombings, he said:
We must all become prophets. I really mean that. We must all do something for peace. We must stop this insanity of worshipping the gods of metal. We must take a stand against evil and idolatry. This is our destiny at the most critical time of human history. But it’s also the greatest opportunity ever offered to any group of people in the history of our world – to save our world from complete annihilation.
Prayer for Nuclear Disarmament
By: Education for Justice (adapted)
You have given us life, intelligence and the beauty of Creation,
O Holy One.
Your good gifts were given so we might be stewards of
all that is alive.
In our arrogance, we have unleashed fearful forces that destroy.
We have brought down fierce fire from the sky.
Your children have been burned, your gentle green earth scorched.
Fear rules us now, not Love; we have given in to evils,
lesser and greater.
In your mercy, help us turn from destruction, from the bombs and barricades.
Lead us to Life again, to affirmation of all goodness and to international disarmament.
With your grace, may we begin to dismantle the bombs, beat the swords into plowshares,
And so transform the nuclear nightmare into the peace
you have proposed.
Hear our prayer and guide us in your ways. Amen
 The cited piece was published in the November-December 2014 Maryknoll NewsNotes