Reflections on Peace
MICAH is peace. Below are reflections on this theme written on March 22, 2004 by Erik. We trust you will find words of wisdom in these reflections.
MICAH is peace...
As we have continued to pray together we have become ever more aware how peace is a stranger to this world in which we live. At the same time it is very clear how much people long for peace in their lives. Whether it be the lives of individuals or our lives together in the larger community that we call Earth, peace has become a whisper of longing relegated to quiet spots in nature, retreats that rarely happen, and a beautiful but unattainable ideal. What has forced peace so far from our everyday lives, and what can we do to reclaim it?
I have come across some powerful statements from a variety of sources, and I include them for your own prayer and reflection:
Peace I leave 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 let them be afraid
- Jesus to his disciples as quoted in John 14:27
Julian of Norwich wrote in 1373 that “peace and love are always alive in us, but we are not always alive to peace and love.”
“ Peace is not won by those who fiercely guard their differences but by those who with open minds and hearts seek out connections.”
- Katherine Paterson, The Spying Heart
Wisdom’s ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace
- Proverbs 3:17
“ I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it."
- Dwight D. Eisenhower
“ Your faith has healed you, go in peace."
- Jesus in Luke 8:48
It is better to be at peace than to be right.
“ The peace God has revealed has two basic levels. At the human level, it includes harmony, order, security, prosperity- but still a gift of God. At the divine level, it is a profound oneness with God, Gods’ dwelling within us- a oneness that can exist even when life is tough, when human living is not very human and not much alive."
- Walter J. Burghardt, S.J.
“ Jesus’ peace is not the absence of war or a tenuous truce between enemies; not an end to psychological tension; not a sentimental feeling of well-being. Not even a reference to earthly possessions, to order, security, prosperity. Jesus’ peace is a gift that has to do with salvation, with our relationship to God now and into eternity. It means that God is dwelling within us, that God is alive in us”.
- Walter J. Burghardt, S.J.
Peace is not only an ideal to be attained in the world between warring nations and peoples but an inner state of being. These two aspects of peace meet in the individual. The outer peace cannot happen without people having been transformed so that they might know that inner peace. The peace of which Jesus speaks is a gift of the Divine: are we willing to open ourselves to it? Are we willing to do the work to make ready a place within us that we might accept the gift? Jesus offers this gift to his disciples and to those in his ministry that he touches. It is a peace that encompasses all of who we are: it has elements of wholeness and healing, of wisdom and grace, of true freedom. This kind of peace that God offers, however, is incredibly counter-cultural. It is direct opposition to a violent culture as seen on the evening news and in the movies. It is in direct opposition to a culture that says that we are never enough, that we must have more, that we must be more, that we must work more, that our bodies don’t look perfect so here is an operation or a pill to fix it quickly. This pressure makes it very difficult for us to see ourselves and others as whole people. As we embrace this peace we find that we have enough, that we are enough, that we are known and beloved by the Creator. Most of us have enough if we could only stop and see, and if we could realize that then we would be able to begin the process of making sure others have enough as well.
In the human realm, at any level of community, peace takes some intentional work, the tools of which are being forgotten or ignored in mainstream churches and culture. This is a gentle work of remaining open to others and seeing the wisdom in their opinions even when we might disagree with their statements. It is remaining open to the reality that the relationship itself is more valuable than any doctrine to which we might ascribe, and it is remaining open to the image of God that dwells in the other so that we might see the image of the Holy within him or her. The tools that must be rediscovered are those of compassion, unbiased listening, forgiveness, reconciliation and trust. Using these tools we must find ways of building a process to relate with others that does not sweep conflict and issues under the rug but works through the issues upholding the holiness and value of each individual.
MICAH is peace as we engage in a style of life that is grounded in prayer that we might find that oneness with God. MICAH is peace as we set in place structures that help us make time for quiet walks, times of silence and reflection, and times for deeper conversation to help create that sacred space within us to find and embrace the gift. MICAH is peace as we strive to live a simple life where we try to turn away from the materialistic and violent pressure of our culture so that we can be ever more aware that we have enough, that we are enough.
May you know the sacred gift that is peace,
[Return to top of page]