by Sister Margie Lavonis, CSC
The need for peace in the world is on the minds of many. Almost daily we hear news of violence, war and death from around the world. In light of this reality, it is easy to feel helpless and even depressed. We may ask ourselves what we could possibly do to bring peace to the world?
Most of us probably won’t have direct influence on settling the wars that rage throughout the world, but there are ways we can bring peace to our own environments. A good guide to follow is the prayer commonly attributed to St. Francis.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
How can we sow love and dispel hatred? Most of us probably do not really hate many, if any, individuals. However, there are those we might certainly dislike. As a starter we can pray for these people and ask the Lord to give us eyes to see their goodness as God does.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Most conflicts, large or small, usually begin because of hurt and/or the refusal to forgive. Who are the people who have hurt us or we have hurt? Those who hold grudges can never be completely at peace. It is amazing, but sometimes people cannot even remember why they are angry.
Where there is doubt, faith.
One way to help someone overcome his or her doubts is to share our own faith in the unconditional love of God with that person. Our faith in the goodness and love of God can lift up others whose faith is weak.
Where there is despair, hope.
Christians are called to be people of hope. Despite how it seems, God continues to love every person and thing that he made and he certainly will not destroy what he created. This message of God’s love can only bring hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Christians must not let themselves be weighed down by negativity. We must light up the darkness by trying to be positive. We can overcome negativity by looking for the good in all persons and situations.
Where there is sadness, joy.
We can perform small acts of kindness to lighten the sadness of others. Too often we shy away from those who are sad because we don’t know what to say. Sometimes we don’t have to say anything.
O Divine Master grant that I may not so much seek…
To be consoled, as to console.
Think about what our world would be like if we were sensitive to those who are hurting and not always focused on our own personal problems.
To be understood, as to understand.
We cannot always understand others but we certainly can listen to them.
To be loved, as to love.
When we forget ourselves and reach out in love to others, it usually comes back to us a hundredfold.
For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and in dying that we are born to eternal life.
If each of us could do all or any of these things we could begin to transform our little corner of the world and bring it peace. Pick one and start today.
Learn more at https://www.cscsisters.org/justice-and-peace/