How would you describe peace? I checked several dictionaries and much to my surprise, I found that peace was defined as “an absence of war.” So the first definition for peace is a description of what it is not.
I noticed that ultimately all definitions of peace were based in relationship: relationships of one nation to another, of communities to its members, of individuals with each other and one’s relationship with oneself. Peace goes from global, local, person-to-person and finally to the self.
“Peace be with you” was Jesus’ Easter greeting to his disciples. Jesus was speaking about inner peace – personal peace, a peace in which we are one with God and ourselves. When we live in the peace of Jesus, real peace is possible in our relationships and with ourselves.
Jesus said, “My peace is my gift to you,” and as with all gifts, we have to unwrap it – learning how to be peace is a lifelong task and a lifelong journey. Each moment we spend with this gift of peace makes us more and more sensitive to peace in others. The more peacefully we live the more we realize moments when we are out of sync with peace, when peace is absent.
St. Francis’ familiar prayer is as powerful today as ever: Make me a channel of your peace – what ways would you rewrite his prayer for your own life? Make me a channel of your peace when I disagree with someone else. Make me a channel of your peace when a difficult situation calls for kindness. Make me a channel of your peace when others are being disrespectful. Make me a channel of your peace when others are being rude. Make me a channel of your peace when I want to lash out at someone else.
Dear God, Let there be peace in all of my relationships, let me be peace to all those I meet, let me walk peacefully on our planet and let peace begin with me. Amen.