I read with a of soft sorrow that Daniel Berrigan passed away at 94. Many years ago Dan was a frequent visitor to our home. My father made many trips to Danbury Federal Correctional Institution to visit Dan while he served time for his protests to war. The April weekend at Cornell in 1970 was one never to be forgotten as Dan attended the “festival” called “America is Hard to Find” in plain sight. Then in the in the presence of FBI agents everywhere, he slipped away and eluded them for months.
There are not many people who live life based on their convictions without wavering. Dan was one of those people. He paid a price few of us would risk. He believed in hope. He believed war was wrong, and that it served no purpose.
This was not the blog written for today, but it is the blog that needed to be posted today. If you do not know who Dan Berrigan was, find out. Then search inside yourself and ask, “what matters?”
(to the Plowshares 8, with love)
by Daniel Berrigan
Some stood up once, and sat down.
Some walked a mile, and walked away.
Some stood up twice, then sat down.
“It’s too much,” they cried.
Some walked two miles, then walked away.
“I’ve had it,” they cried,
Some stood and stood and stood.
They were taken for fools,
they were taken for being taken in.
Some walked and walked and walked –
they walked the earth,
they walked the waters,
they walked the air.
“Why do you stand?” they were asked, and
“Why do you walk?”
“Because of the children,” they said, and
“Because of the heart, and
“Because of the bread,”
“Because the cause is
the heart’s beat, and
the children born, and
the risen bread.”
“We have assumed the name of peacemakers, but we have been, by and large, unwilling to pay any significant price. And because we want the peace with half a heart and half a life and will, the war, of course, continues, because the waging of war, by its nature, is total—but the waging of peace, by our own cowardice, is partial…There is no peace because there are no peacemakers. There are no makers of peace because the making of peace is at least as costly as the making of war—at least as exigent, at least as disruptive, at least as liable to bring disgrace and prison and death in its wake.” Daniel Berrigan
“He is always a couple of steps ahead. But the main thing is the mood he creates. Being with Berrigan places things in proper proportion. People around him move away from their ego trips and factionalism. He is one of the long sequence of forces that keeps one steered on a committed course.” Noam Chomsky
“Thank you, Dan. May we all take heart from your astonishing peacemaking life, and carry on the work to abolish war, poverty and nuclear weapons.” John Dear, Huffington Post