Love can Defeat Violence
Nowadays, we are seeing the increase of violence in our areas. Many people are
victims of threat or assault that lead most to loose their life. We do have something we
are supposed to do as a Christian, as well as a religious missionary. It is becoming
higher than somewhere else to learn that somebody is killed, murdered in the USA or around the world because of a misunderstanding of what we do call ‘Liberty” or “Freedom.” Facing this sort of issue, one SVD-Missionary, Brother Matthew Connors,
felt a calling to be involved to help the younger people to avoid such a life. Leading by the Holy Scripture, especially the statement of Jesus about love; “The first and greatest command is love, love of God with all your strength, spirit, and all your life, and as well
as love of your neighbors.”
The second inspiration, which overwhelmed Brother Matt is the parable of the good samaritan, who rescued a stranger and took care of him. Leading by the Holy Spirit, Brother Matt found out, we are all the same. We are all brothers and sisters, and we all come from God. Within that assurance (confidence), he enjoyed his life to defend and protect life among the youths. “The human life is important and sacred,” says Brother Matt (November, 2015). All started in 1990, when his provincial assigned him to move
on to Greenville, Mississippi, at Sacred Heart Church. There was an increase of danger everyday in this area with gang crime, and there were murders of young people,
“African Americans,” who were lacking an occupation or what to do, so they got involved
in criminality. Brother Matt said that “The bad side of times of his ministry was seeing
some of the young men involved in violent circles that led to prison or death.” The good
times was the confidence and connection in which he was able to make with those
youths. Brother Matt became their father. They were calling him “Brother Dad!” and the
group was called “Brother Matt’s Boys!” His courage led him to email the officers, even
the President of the USA, to do their best ending violence in our society. In one of his
correspondences to the Office of Governor Bruce Rauner (State Capitol), he let him
know about the amount of the murdered, and the violence in Chicago. Many people are
losing their lives, adults, as well as, children. From 2008-2015, three thousand have
died, and six thousand have been wounded. If there was a heavy snow, and people
were trapped, not able to get heat, water or food, a State-of-Emergency would be
declared, and the National Guard would be called out. Through this statement, we can
recognize how much Brother Matt is concerned to stop the hemorrhaging of violence,
that remained his best motive. On July 30, 2015, the White House reacted to his mail to
the President of the USA about the violence and the murdered in the USA. The letter
was signed by President Obama.
He said, “From my earliest days as a community organizer through my work as
President, I have found that Americans can achieve extra-ordinary things when we work together. Each of us has a role to play in creating a better world for future generations. I trust that you take pride in your contributions, and I hope your service movers others as well.”
Brother Matt’s actions and strength have been linked to Christ. It is the love of Christ
that motivated him and made everything possible. The only one medicine that Brother
Matt had used, was the love of Christ, seeing Jesus himself, within these young people.
By that love, he was able to change and transform those people who used to kill and
make trouble into their neighborhood.
Nowadays, many of them have a better life, focusing on how they can raise their family.
Who is Brother Matt?
Brother Matt was born on December 1, 1939. He joined the SVD in 1962 by his first vows. For his first twenty years, he spent it working in the food chain, butchering meats, and working in a bakery. He planned meals, cooked, and served the food to the proclaimed missionaries and future SVDs. He is now in SVD community at Bay St. Louis for his retirement.