We are followers of and adherents to the Prince of Peace and His teachings and following the way He lived. He commanded us to love one another as He loved us. Christ even taught us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us. He taught us to turn the other cheek and to walk an extra mile. He taught us to forgive and warned us that God would not forgive us if we could not forgive. What He taught, lived, suffered, died, and rose for, is meaningless if we do not love peace, do justice, and walk humbly with our God (to paraphrase Micah). August marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I. There have already been and there will be more documentaries about the war and how it started. More people died, soldiers and civilians in that war than in World War II. What is sad, of course, is that there was a World War II. I war born during WWII and have lived through the Korean war, the Vietnam war, the Cold War, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It would seem that we have learned little. Elie Wiesel, the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize winner, is a friend that told me once that he prayed this prayer every night, “So God, how’d I do today? Did I make You proud or did I make You ashamed?” Oh that we would all pray that prayer daily—maybe the world would change. I’m afraid we have made God ashamed of us as I watch the footage of the fighting in Gaza, in Ukraine, in Syria, the terrorism attacks in Kenya and elsewhere, and the continuing racism and hatred in the United States. Every Christmas we sing about peace on earth but seem to do nothing to bring it about. The change must come first from within ourselves. Each of us must learn to love the way Christ commanded us and to forgive as He forgave us. There will be no peace as long as hatred of people who do not agree with us continues to live and burn in our own hearts. There have always been those among us who have loved and forgiven even if they were murdered, assassinated, fired from their jobs, treated badly by their own families, and persecuted by word and deed. They have been the beacons of light in an increasingly dark world. I am cheered by their existence and was reminded of that last night as I heard the men and women who are here in the mission learning about Montesorri methods singing and laughing. The official day was over, and, on their own, they rejoiced and sang out of their love for the Lord. The world doesn’t have to be the way it is. If you can pray what is called the “Peace Prayer” (not written by Francis of Assisi but attributed to him) and live it, then we and our children will have a chance to live so that we and they can love in the way that will make God proud of us.
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is discord, harmony;
Where there is error, truth;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen and God bless you for trying to bring peace and light to those in conflict and darkness.