What’s on your Christmas wish list?
Most responders in a recent poll from a UK app developer said they wanted money and iPads. This is a change over the long running number one wish for world peace.
Perhaps responders gave up on the possibility of a peaceful planet. Or they do not realize how disruption anywhere in the world affects us personally. Maybe this response simply reflects a culture of greed and consumerism – that the newest toy is more desirable than anything else.
If you do not see the dire need for peace, talk to someone who has experienced national or personal unrest. A young foreign student I once tutored grew up in a war zone and told haunting stories of trying to concentrate in school or fall asleep at night while gunfire and explosions rang in the background. He witnessed neighbors being shot and survived a car
bombing when some of his relatives did not. The memories of it all left him traumatized.
Whether you are living in a war torn country across the globe, a victim of domestic abuse, or experiencing the fallout from unhappy coworkers, neighbors, or relatives, the resulting fear, pain, and agony limits potential and weakens well-being. In addition, in our “me” centered culture, our tendency is to focus on a hurt that has been inflicted upon us. Such thinking leaves us agitated and vengeful, perpetuating the cycle of negativity.
All of that affects each one of us. Any one person’s pain ripples across those around them. The more people in distress, the greater the collective damage.
So how do we begin to plant seeds of peace? We start with one kind word, one thoughtful action, and one quiet moment with the Lord. As we sing in the Prayer of Saint Francis, we become instruments of peace by sowing love in beds of hatred, pardoning injuries inflicted upon us, and understanding and loving others rather than first seeking to be understood.
Saint Theodora experienced long periods of unrest within and towards her community. She found her peace in prayer, stopping throughout the day to meditate. She also took note of and gave thanks for their many blessings and the people who helped them, such as their chaplain, Reverend Corbe (Letters and Journals, 303).
When Psalm 131 is chanted during the Mass, the response is, “In you, O Lord, I have found my peace.” The Psalm says, “I have calmed and quieted my soul.” If you are searching for peace, begin with a quiet moment. God is heard loudest in the midst of silence, which means we have to turn off the television and remove the earplugs to our phone and music. We must shut out the chatter to open our hearts.
Peace is available and attainable. Jesus promised this to us. He said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you” (John 14:27). May Christ’s peace be with you always.
©Mary K. Doyle