Why do I say that? Is it because I don’t think God is listening? Is it because I don’t think God cares? Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s just that praying for peace won’t work because we think that’s all we have to do. We think if we pray long enough and often enough that will do the trick. We believe that God will bring the peace. But peace doesn’t come.
Jesus said: My peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John: 14-27)
But we are afraid. We do not behave as those who trust in God. We take a defensive position and arm ourselves both mentally and physically. Jesus said that he bestowed on us His peace. That didn’t mean that he was covering us in an impenetrable Invisibility Cloak like the one Harry Potter had. He meant he was putting his peace in our hearts, but we don’t accept it. We don’t live like people who are at peace. The only way the world will know peace is when those of us who have been given Christ’s peace share it. To do that, we have to nurture that peace within us so that the peaceful response will be automatic.
I don’t have my head buried in the sand. I know how violent this world is, but, I also know that peaceful solutions must be found. Peaceful solutions must be spoken. Take, for example, the issue of refugees. Amid the turmoil caused in Europe of thousands of refugee pouring across borders, Pope Francis said that if every Christian Congregation in the world took in one family, there would be no refugees.
We are not listening. We have allowed the agents of fear and distrust to cloud our vision. When we read scripture, we see that Jesus was a victim of the violence of his world on purpose. He could have avoided it, but he chose not to. Was he naïve, or was he setting an example?
It seems to some of us that we would be more peaceful if we had a gun. Violence is the easy answer. Consider at the time of Jesus’ arrest. Peter, who had walked beside Jesus for three years, tried to fight them off by grabbing a sword and cutting a man’s ear off. Jesus quietly said, “No, Peter” and calmly re-attached the ear. The words, “Those who live by the sword, die by the sword” must have rung in Peter’s head the rest of his life.
Don’t get me wrong; I know what courage it takes to be peaceful. Most people inherently know how dangerous the peaceful path is, but it is still the only way.
The Dominican Sisters of Peace, with whom I am honored to be associated, have one message: Be Peace. Pray with them, that God will continually remind you that his Peace is within and you have the power to bring peace.