In 2007, the United Nations declared October 2 (the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi) as the International Day of Nonviolence. The UN describes the day as a global observance that promotes nonviolence through education and public awareness.
While nonviolence includes peace from armed conflict, it means much more than that. It has to mean freedom from violence of every kind, including (among other things) poverty, racism, sexism, and the violence we perpetrate upon our environment.
Education and public awareness are important pieces, but if we have any hope of achieving a world of nonviolence, we also need to call upon the assistance of our God. And so, for those who consider prayer an imporant component of this day, I offer the closing prayer in a Prayer Service for Nonviolence, written by John Dear, S.J. It reads:
God of peace, thank you for calling us to follow the nonviolent Jesus on the road to peace. Help us to become your holy people of Gospel nonviolence. Disarm our hearts tha twe might be instruments of yoru disarming love. Make our church a community of Gospel nonviolence, that rejects war and radiates your love and peace. Bless us to love one another and our enemies, to reconcile with everyone, to resist injustice and spread the practice of nonviolence. Give us a new world without war, poverty, nuclear weapons, global warming, or violence. Give us your reign of nonviolence, here and now. We ask this in the name of the nonviolent Jesus, our brother and our peace.