We live in a world of much violence—wars
around the world, in our communities, and even in our homes. Seeing and
experiencing this violence provokes fear and anger within us, often
tempting us to respond with more violence. But this isn’t God’s answer
to violence. We find God’s answer on the cross. Jesus didn’t allow Peter
to defend him from an arrest by use of the sword. Nor did he call down
legions of angels to save him from the Romans who tortured and executed
him. Instead he submitted to death on the cross. In some mysterious way,
the Father used the death and resurrection of his Son for far greater
purposes than any of his followers could have imagined. As Pope Francis
eloquently stated, “In the silence of the cross, the uproar of weapons
ceases and the language of reconciliation, forgiveness, dialogue, and
peace is spoken.”
The words we use matter, and can move us
towards greater peace, or towards more conflict. Our words are an
expression of who we are, just as Jesus Himself, the Word made flesh, is
the incarnate expression of who the Father is. When our words are
hostile and aim to put others down, we aren’t imitating Jesus, and
reconciliation becomes impossible. When instead we use the language of
love and peace, this enables us to enter into dialogue with others, even
with those who are very different from us. Through that dialogue we
begin to better understand one another, enabling us to follow Jesus in
building a more peaceful world.
Prayer of the Month
Lord, God of peace, hear our prayer!
We have tried so many times and over so many years to resolve our
conflicts by our own powers and by the force of our arms. How much
blood has been shed; how many lives have been shattered; how many hopes
have been buried. But our efforts have been in vain.
Lord, God of Abraham, God of the Prophets, God of Love, you
created us, and you call us to live as brothers and sisters. Give us the
strength daily to be instruments of peace; enable us to see everyone
who crosses our path as our brother or sister. Make us sensitive to the
plea of our citizens who entreat us to turn our weapons of war into
implements of peace, our trepidation into confident trust, and our
quarreling into forgiveness.
Renew our hearts and minds, so that the word which always brings
us together will be “brother”, and our way of life will always be that
of Peace. Amen.
– Invocation for Peace by Pope Francis
Courtesy of Apostleship of Prayer