Desert Day 30: Calling Ourselves Peacemakers …

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
— Matthew 5:9

In times of great personal and social upheaval, real peacemakers, genuine bridge builders do four things:

First, they must tap into their own deepest spiritual self and recommit to the higher values that shines in them there.

Second, they must speak kindly to the other at all times. No name-calling, no threats, no ultimatums, no personal judgments.

Third, they must articulate their own values, goals, concerns and hopes clearly and calmly.

Fourth, and perhaps most important, they must listen carefully to the issues and commitments that impel and motivate the other, looking for the desires that are common to both sides.

Then, and only then, can we say that we are honestly committed to working together for the common good. Only then can we call ourselves peacemakers.
— Joan Chittister from Architect of Change

Jesus Is a Peacemaker

Jesus, the Blessed Child of the Father, is a peacemaker. His peace doesn’t mean only absence of war. It is not simply harmony or equilibrium. His peace is the fullness of well-being, gratuitously given by God. Jesus says, “Peace I leave to you, my own peace I give you, a peace which the world cannot give, this is my gift to you” (John 14:27).

Peace is Shalom — well-being of mind, heart, and body, individually and communally. It can exist in the midst of a war-torn world, even in the midst of unresolved problems and increasing human conflicts. Jesus made that peace by giving his life for his brothers and sisters. This is no easy peace, but it is everlasting and it comes from God. Are we willing to give our lives in the service of peace?
— Henri Nouwen from Bread For The Journey

Diversity And Selfness

We don’t have to surrender our individuality to experience the world as an extended self and its story as our own extended story. The liver, leg, and lung that are ‘mine’ are highly distinct from each other, thank goodness, and each has a distinctive role to play. The larger ‘selfness’ we discover today is not an undifferentiated unity. As in all living systems, intelligence depends on the integrative play of diversity. Diversity is a source of resilience.  This is good news because this time of great challenge demands more commitment, endurance, and courage than any one of us can dredge up out of our own individual supply. We can learn to draw on the other neurons in the neural net and view them with gratitude. The acts and intentions of others are like seeds that can germinate and bear fruit through our own lives, as we take them in and dedicate that awareness to the healing of our world.
— Joanna Macy from World as Lover, World as Self

The Meaning of Happiness in a Global Age

If someone asked you what you want out of life, what would you say? Or, better yet, if they asked your Chinese counterparts in some rural village what they want out of life, what would they say? Do you both want the same things? Or are you radically different from one another? And if you are, what does that have to tell us about the character of the world to come? If we all want something different – based on who we are and where we live – how can we possibly appreciate the other person’s needs?

On the other hand, to want the same things can only lead us into fierce competition for a finite amount of finite things – water, for instance, or food maybe, or minerals and fossil fuels, certainly. If happiness lies in having things that are by nature limited, the whole hope for world peace is at best a fantasy.  That scenario dooms us to a kind of happiness in reach only for those with enough power, enough force, to take what they want when they want it, whatever the effect on the rest of the world.

What, in fact, does it say even about our ability to do business together if we all want different things? Then happiness becomes an exercise in self-centeredness – to our peril. If we do not have common interests, common concerns, common needs, then the points of contact and growth, of wisdom and knowledge will certainly be limited.  Our very opportunities to grow must surely be affected. Clearly, the implications of such emotional isolationism beg for a definition of happiness that is broader than preoccupation with the self can possibly give or get.
— Joan Chittister from Happiness



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