Peace is not the product of terror or fear.
Peace is not the silence of cemeteries.
Peace is not the silent result of violent repression.
Peace is the generous, tranquil contribution of all to the good of all.
Peace is dynamism. Peace is generosity.
It is right and it is duty.
— Oscar Romero from Peace Prayers
We often think of peace as the absence of war, that if the powerful countries would reduce their weapons’ arsenals, we could have peace. But if we look deeply into the weapons, we see our own minds — our prejudices, fears, and ignorance. Even if we transport all the bombs to the moon, the roots of war and the roots of the bombs are still here, in our hearts and minds, and sooner or later we will make new bombs. To work for peace is to uproot war from ourselves and from the hearts of men and women.
— Thich Nhat Hanh from Living Buddha, Living Christ
War within ourselves is always a prelude to war outside ourselves. All war starts within our own hearts. When our egos are inflated or our desires insatiable, we go to war with the other for the sad joy of maintaining our one-dimensional worlds.
― Joan D. Chittister from Wisdom Distilled from the Daily: Living the Rule of St. Benedict Today
We “live and breathe and have our being” by sharing in God’s life. Ultimately life is the primal energy that fuels the universe. That aliveness flows into us as blessing and wants to flow out from us as blessing to others. We can bless others with a good word or a smile, a kind of action that goes completely unobserved, or simply a good wish in silence. What joy to become aware of blessing, of that special aliveness flowing into us and through us.
— David Steindl-Rast from Music of Silence
Within Our Reach: Joy
I salute you. I am your friend, and my love for you goes deep. There is nothing I can give you which you have not. But there is much, very much, that, while I cannot give it, you can take. No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today. Take heaven! No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instant.
Take peace! The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy. There is radiance and glory in darkness, could we but see. And to see, we have only to look. I beseech you to look!
Life is so generous a giver. But we, judging its gifts by their covering, cast them away as ugly or heavy or hard. Remove the covering, and you will find beneath it a living splendor, woven of love by wisdom, with power. Welcome it, grasp it, and you touch the angel’s hand that brings it to you.
Everything we call a trial, a sorrow or a duty, believe me, that angel’s hand is there. The gift is there and the wonder of an overshadowing presence. Your joys, too, be not content with them as joys. They, too, conceal diviner gifts.
Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty beneath its covering, that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven. Courage then to claim it; that is all! But courage you have, and the knowledge that we are pilgrims together, wending through unknown country home.
— Fra Giovanni Giocondo (as quoted in Treasury of Celebrations)
The Eternal Compass
We can’t avoid the news, the war, the terror alerts, the fear. We’re doing what we can to change the world in our own small way, but new ideas and more compassionate forces seem overwhelmed by their opposites. A few things seem to be getting better, but many things seem to be getting much worse. Just when love seemed to be the hot new topic, hatred sounded its clarion call. And the entire world could not but hear.
The most important thing to remember during times of great change, is to fix our eyes anew on the things that don’t change.
Eternal things become our compass during times of rapid transition, binding us emotionally to a steady and firm course. They remind us that we, as children of God, are still at the center of divine purpose in the world. They gives us the strength to make positive changes, wisdom to endure negative changes, and the capacity to become people in whose presence the world moves toward healing.
— Marianne Williamson in The Gift of Change
- Parable of the Good Samaritan
- Silence and Stillness
- Where Does It Hurt: A Wartime Prayer
- Honoring Our Pain for the World
- God Will Wound You Deeply
- Transformative Suffering: The Growing Edge