First, the Magi believed in the goodness to which the star was leading them, and in the pursuit of their sacred mission they spared no expenses, took great risks, and showed true courage by following the star into unknown and potentially dangerous territories. At Pax Populi, we too must commit ourselves to following our star, knowing that in doing so the potential benefits are matched with serious risks.
The second lesson is found in their gift giving. Although the Magi traveled a great distance, they did so not to achieve wealth or fame, but to make an offering of the most precious things available to them. In a like manner, if we wish to pursue peace, we need to be moved by a spirit of generosity in which we are prepared to give much even though we may never see any obvious reward from our efforts. Instead of offering frankincense, gold, and myrrh, we give of our time, money, and talents with the aim that our efforts will lead to the creation of a more peaceful world.
When the Magi met with Herod, the king of Judea, they were told to return to him after discovering the whereabouts of the recently born Jesus. Because Herod’s intentions were violent, the third lesson of the Magi was their decision to return to their home by another way. The goal of Pax Populi is peace, and the route we propose taking is the Other Way: rather than the path of armed conflict or the path of Afghan abandonment, we are dedicated to advancing peace by reaching out in friendship to help the Afghans help themselves. No one has more at stake in achieving peace in Afghanistan than the Afghans. To the extent that we are able, we want to support them in their struggle to create a strong, peaceful civil society.
As part of Pax Populi’s Other Way of Peacemaking, we seek to conjoin the most creative ideas in peacemaking with a spirit of determination and courage. It may be a long and difficult journey we have ahead, but we believe that the Other Way we are trying to advance is ultimately the quickest route to a peace that will be strong and enduring.