Q: Brother David: Describing the 9-11 attack as a “Wake-up Call,” you offered a dimension of gratefulness to the “cycle of madness…of violence and counter-violence.” Now, in the face of agitation, perhaps imminent devastation, is there any gift of gratefulness we may glean? ~ Thank you for your response. — Nancy Sondel, USA

A: +September 11th 2001 was a wake-up call; February 16th 2003 was a day of awakening: in more than 600 cities around the world millions demanded peace. On that Day of Awakening, the silent majority of the whole world found its voice. It was a first in history. From now on we have a clear choice: bow to fear that breeds violence, or stand up for peace.

The opportunity to stand up and be counted is the gift of this hour; and a great gift it is. Mobilization of a vast military arsenal threatens us with devastation and possible annihilation. But since this alarm aroused the world from sleep, we must be grateful to be awake, grateful to be free to chose, grateful to be able to make a difference.

How? By thinking for ourselves (it helps to turn off the TV); by speaking up, whenever an occasion offers itself; by asking questions. The internet allows us to find answers to many questions; it offers opportunities to speak up; Move On: Democracy in Action is merely one of them. There are two voices in the world today: the voice of the US government and the voice of world opinion.

A third voice, that of Moses in Deuteronomy 30:19, rings more clearly than ever: “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today: I set before you life or death, blessing or curse. Choose life, then, so that you and your descendants may live!” Let us show ourselves grateful for this moment of opportunity to choose life.

–Your Brother David

Br. David Steindl-Rast Peace
Br. David Steindl-Rast, OSB

Br. David Steindl-Rast, OSB

About the author

Brother David Steindl-Rast — author, scholar, and Benedictine monk — is beloved the world over for his enduring message about gratefulness as the true source of lasting happiness. Known to many as the “grandfather of gratitude,” Br. David has been a source of inspiration and spiritual friendship to countless leaders and luminaries around the world including Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Thomas Merton, and more. He has been one of the most important figures in the modern interfaith dialogue movement, and has taught with thought-leaders such as Eckhart Tolle, Jack Kornfield, and Roshi Joan Halifax. His wisdom has been featured in recent interviews with Oprah Winfrey, Krista Tippett, and Tami Simon and his TED talk has been viewed almost 10,000,000 times. Learn more about Br. David here.