CHRISTMAS REFLECTION: This Is Truly Peace by John Donne

January 3, 2019

From The Showing Forth of Christ The whole life of Christ was a continual passion; others die martyrs but Christ was born a martyr.  He found a Golgotha (where he was crucified) even in Bethlehem, where he was born; for to his tenderness then the straws were almost as sharp as the thorns after and the manger as uneasy at first as his cross at last.  His birth and his death were but one continual act, and his Christmas Day and his Good Friday are but the evening and the morning of one and the same day.  And as even his birth is his death, so every action and passage that manifests Christ to us is his birth. Every manifestation of Christ to the world, to the church, to a particular soul, is an Epiphany, a Christmas Day.  Now there is [...]

CHRISTMAS REFLECTION: Pray For Peace by John Mason Neale

December 31, 2018

From a New Year’s Eve sermon A time to be born, and a time to die. (Ecclesiastes 3:2) I think the text suits the occasion.  It speaks to you of death: there is a time to be born and a time to die; it speaks of Christmas: there is a time to be born; it speaks of the birth of the new, and the departure of the old year: there is a time to die.  And now I want you to notice this.  Solomon is here reckoning up the different things for which in the course of these lives of ours, there is a season.  And the two first and the two last answer in a certain way to each other: a time to be born and a time to die, a time of war and a time of peace.  As much as to say: the time of being born is the time when, like some valiant general, we ought [...]

POETRY: The Four Candles Of Advent by Royston Allen

November 30, 2018

The candle of HOPE: Hope for the hopeless and hope for the lost. No matter the price, whatever the cost. Jesus has come and was willing to pay being born as a babe that first Christmas day. Hope that’s a certainty, hope that is sure. Though the Earth is shaken we are secure. Trusting in Jesus and safe in his care. Knowing that he’s with us and always there. The candle of PEACE: Peace, all other peace transcending. Peace so eternal and unending. Peace that passes all understanding. Peace so perfect and undemanding. Peace lovely peace floods into our soul. Peace of healing making us whole. Peace from God, peace from Heaven. Peace, Jesus whispers deep within. The candle of JOY: The candle is burning, its flame so bright and joy [...]

PRAYER: Hear My Voice by Pope John Paul II

November 20, 2017

To you, creator of nature and humanity, of truth and beauty, I pray: Hear my voice, for it is the voice of the victims of all wars and violence among individuals and nations. Hear my voice, for it is the voice of all children who suffer and who will suffer when people put their faith in weapons and war. Hear my voice when I beg you to instill into the hearts of all human beings the vision of peace, the strength of justice, and the joy of fellowship. Hear my voice, for I speak for the multitudes in every country and in every period of history who do not want war and are ready to walk the road of peace. Hear my voice and grant insight and strength so that we may always respond to hatred with love, to injustice with total dedication to [...]

JESUS: A Single Hour, by Mark G. Boyer

May 5, 2017

  Scripture:Jesus said to his disciples, “Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?  If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest?  Your Father knows that you need food and clothing.  Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. (Luke 12:25-26, 30-31)   Reflection: The author of Luke’s gospel uses some of the same material that the author of Matthew’s gospel uses.  Biblical scholars refer to this as Q (from the German word quelle, meaning “source”).  The author of Luke’s gospel polishes the sayings, while the author of Matthew’s gospel inserts his own unique theme – righteousness [...]

JESUS: Peace, by Mark G. Boyer

April 28, 2017

  Scripture:When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”  After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side.  Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.  Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.  As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” (John 20:19-21)   Reflection: In John’s gospel, on Easter Sunday evening Jesus appears to his disciples after his resurrection from the dead, and his greeting to them is, Peace.  One must remember that earlier in the work, Jesus had told his disciples, Peace I leave with you; [...]

UNITY: Building The Church’s Unity by R. Kent Hughes

October 17, 2016

From: Ephesians: The Mystery of the Body of Christ I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with long-suffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. (Ephesians 4:1-6) The opening sentence of chapter 4, where Paul says, As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received, marks the turning point in the book of Ephesians.  The [...]

PRAYER: Prayer For The Morning Headlines by Daniel Berrigan

January 11, 2016

Mercifully grant peace in our days. Through your help may we be freed from present distress. Have mercy on women and children homeless in foul weather, ranting like bees among gutted barns and stiles. Have mercy on those (like us) clinging one to another under fire, terror on terror, grapes the grape shot strikes. Have mercy on the dead, befouled, trodden like snow in hedges and thickets. Have mercy, dead man, whose grandiose gentle hope died on the wing, whose body stood like a tree between strike and fall, stood like a cripple on his wooden crutch. We cry: Halt! We cry: Password! Dishonored heart, remember and remind, the open sesame: From there to here, from innocence to us: Hiroshima, Dresden, Guernica, Selma, Sharpeville, Coventry, [...]

POETRY: Peace by Henry Vaughan

January 3, 2016

My Soul, there is a country        Afar beyond the stars, Where stands a winged sentry        All skillful in the wars; There, above noise and danger        Sweet Peace sits, crown’d with smiles, And One born in a manger        Commands the beauteous files. He is thy gracious friend        And (O my Soul awake!) Did in pure love descend,        To die here for thy sake. If thou canst get but thither,        There grows the flow’r of peace, The rose that cannot wither,        Thy fortress, and thy ease. Leave then thy foolish ranges,        For none can thee secure, But One, who never changes,        Thy God, thy life, thy [...]

PEACE: Imagining God, by John Dear

November 12, 2015

From Living Peace Part One The culture of violence would have us believe that just as we are violent, God must also be violent.  It portrays God as vengeful, waiting to throw us into the eternal fires of hell.  Such a god must surely justify and bless our wars.  Instead of God the peacemaker, we have been taught to believe in god the warmaker.  Since we were children, we have been presented with these false images of God.  This fearful figure still lingers in the back of our minds. Because of this, many reject God.  Who would want anything to do with such a terrifying prospect of “divine violence”? The Bible is filled with images of a violent god.  From the wrathful god who orders the rains to flood the Earth and kill [...]

PRAYER: A Prayer For Peace, by Dorothy Day

September 28, 2015

Rome.  The fast of the twenty women, which I had come to join and which was the primary reason for my visit to Rome during the final session of the [Second Vatican] Council, began on October 1, a Friday.  That morning I checked out of my hotel and proceeded to the great square in front of St. Peter’s to wait for Barbara Wall and Eileen Egan at the end of the Colonnade.  We were going to Mass together on that First Friday morning. Without tickets we could not have got in, since all the Masses which preface the meetings of the Council are packed to the doors.  The laity receive communion not at the main altar but at a side altar.  All around there were confessionals, frequented, I was edified to see, by bishops and cardinals, [...]

SATURDAY READING: Worshiping The Prince Of Peace, or Preemptive War?, by Jimmy Carter

April 18, 2015

From Our Endangered Values For months after the terrible terrorist attack in 2001, the American people were inundated almost daily with claims from top government officials that we faced a devastating threat from Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction or from large and well-organized cadres of terrorists hiding in our country.  But as was emphasized vigorously by foreign allies and key members of our own intelligence services, there was never any existing danger to the United States from Baghdad.  It was obvious that with the U.N. sanctions, intense weapons inspections, and overwhelming American military superiority, any belligerent move by Saddam Hussein against a neighbor, an overt display of a weapon of mass destruction, or sharing [...]

REFLECTION: Jesus, the Prince of Peace, by John Dear

April 16, 2015

From John Dear on Peace For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and for evermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. (Isaiah 9:6-7) Today there are so many areas of injustice it’s hard to know where to begin.  Racism, sexism, poverty, and oppression flourish around the world.  We cannot personally solve every injustice, but we can’t just sit back and allow injustice to continue. [...]

PRINCE OF PEACE: Jesus And Nonviolence — A Third Way by Walter Wink

April 14, 2015

From Peace Is the Way: Writings on Nonviolence Many of those who have committed their lives to ending injustice simply dismiss Jesus’s teachings about nonviolence out of hand as impractical idealism.  And with good reason.  “Turn the other cheek” suggests the passive, Christian doormat quality that has made so many Christians cowardly and complicit in the face of injustice.  “Resist not evil” seems to break the back of all opposition to evil and to counsel submission.  “Going the second mile” has become a platitude meaning nothing more than “extend yourself,” and rather than fostering structural change, encourages collaboration with the oppressor. Jesus obviously never behaved in [...]

TERRORISM: Compassion And Nonviolence From New York To Afghanistan by John Dear

December 9, 2014

From Christian Peace and Nonviolence Reflections after September 11th Like thousands of other New Yorkers, I started volunteering immediately after the World Trade Center disaster.  Within a few days, the Red Cross asked me to help coordinate the chaplain program at the Family Assistance Center, the site run by the government and the Red Cross for families. I’ve been working there ever since.  These past few weeks, I have met some 1,500 grieving family members, police officers, and firefighters. All we can do is stand with them in their grief, share their pain, listen, hold them, pray with them, encourage, and bless them. I remember the Long Island Catholic man who came to turn in DNA evidence only to discover his missing [...]

POETRY: Pounding Swords Into Ploughshares, by David Wagoner

September 17, 2014

You’ll need dozens for each ploughshare, but no matter how hard your hammer comes down on them, pounding and pounding blades on an anvil, no matter how glowing they look there, bloodred again, they’ll only flatten to thinner and thinner, misshapen, flabby sheets useless for anything but the sheer noise of forging them or patching roofs. Their crystal structure may give in at half the temperature of melting, but simple annealing won’t bring their shapes together and sharpen them to a hollow earth-turning curve. In the meanwhile, the dozens and dozens you took them from, the ones not dead yet, will be demanding you give them back, supposedly to protect their unploughed farms from the enemy, but much more likely to flourish [...]

PEACE: Living Toward A Vision, by Walter Brueggemann

July 6, 2014

From Peace I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. Your threshing shall overtake the vintage, and the vintage shall overtake the sowing; you shall eat your bread to the full, and live securely in your land. And I will grant peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and no one shall make you afraid; I will remove dangerous animals from the land, and no sword shall go through your land. (Leviticus 26:4-6) For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. (Ephesians 2:14) The central vision of world history in the Bible is that all of creation is one, every [...]

POETRY: Amazing Peace by Maya Angelou

July 4, 2014

Read by the poet at the lighting of the National Christmas Tree, Washington, D.C., December 1, 2005 Thunder rumbles in the mountain passes And lightning rattles the eaves of our houses. Floodwaters await in our avenues. Snow falls upon snow, falls upon snow to avalanche Over unprotected villages. The sky slips low and gray and threatening. We question ourselves. What have we done to so affront nature? We interrogate and worry God. Are you there? Are you there, really? Does the covenant you made with us still hold? Into this climate of fear and apprehension, Christmas enters, Streaming lights of joy, ringing bells of hope And singing carols of forgiveness high up in the bright air. The world is encouraged to come away from rancor, Come the [...]

WAR AND PEACE: An Open Letter To A Bishop, by Philip Berrigan

July 3, 2014

This is a 1971 letter that Berrigan sent to Catholic Bishop William Baum, who had invited Berrigan to share his thoughts on justice and peace. Here are a few ideas I promised you.  They are qualified, of course, by my status and by the two years I have already served.  But I possessed them before imprisonment, my books are full of them, and, it goes without saying, I believe them profoundly enough to stake my life on them.  I have not found many men who can say that about their ideas. So if you find the following negative, caustic, angry – remember that they come from one who has questioned domestic racism and modern war for ten years; who has lived in the slums and seen the anguish of the poor; who has resisted militarism and [...]

POETRY: Wildpeace, by Yehuda Amichai

July 2, 2014

Not that of a cease-fire, let alone the vision of the wolf and the lamb, but rather as in the heart after a great excitement: you can only talk about the weariness. I know that I know how to kill: that’s why I’m an adult. And my son plays with a toy gun that knows how to open and close its eyes and say Mama. A peace without the big noise of beating swords into ploughshares, without words, without the heavy thud of the rubber stamp: I want it gentle over us, like lazy white foam. A little rest for the wounds— who speaks of healing? (And the orphans’ outcry is passed from one generation to the next, as in a relay race: the baton never falls.) I want it to come like wildflowers, suddenly, because the field needs it: [...]

POETRY: Waging Peace, by Sarah Klassen

July 2, 2014

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace. (Isaiah 52:7) Not something separate. Not a convenient screen, a wall hastily fabricated to keep a conflict’s blaze contained. Or the self safe. Nor something hammered out at tables. And never sentimental, say a moonlit evening, an incandescent sky. The Pacific Ocean on a breathless day. You might as well wage peace as war. You’d have to stand exposed at the crossroads of unguarded anger, a presence, not an absence, not gritting your teeth. Forcing your clenched hands open. Your heart’s hard core and everything the stubborn mind conceals revealed. Disarmed you may become disarming, the terror in your unmasked face radiant, your unshod, [...]

WAR AND PEACE: The Church And War, by Evelyn Underhill

July 1, 2014

We are moving – perhaps more rapidly than we realize – towards a moment in which the church, if she is to preserve her integrity and her spiritual influence, will be compelled to define her attitude towards war; to clear her own mind as to the true reason why her members, by the mere fact of of their membership, are bound to repudiate war, not only in principle but also in fact.  The reason, for there is only one, is simple and conclusive.  The Christian church is the Body of Christ.  Her mission on Earth is to spread the Spirit of Christ, which is the creative spirit of wisdom and love; and in so doing bring in the kingdom of God.  Therefore, she can never support or approve any human action, individual or collective, which is [...]

WAR AND PEACE: On Peace, by Smaragdus of Saint- Mihiel

June 30, 2014

From The Crown of Monks None exalt themselves more with God than those who for God’s sake humble themselves in their own estimation.  The humble are exalted by God so as to be called children of God and heirs of Christ.  Only let them pursue peace, because the children of peace must seek and pursue peace. This is the thrust of the apostle’s admonition when he says, Pursue peace with everyone, and the holiness without which no one will see God. (Hebrews 12:14)  The Lord himself also says in the gospel: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. (Matthew 5:9)  Among his divine commands and saving teachings, when he was very near his passion, the Savior entrusted this precept and commandment to [...]

PRAYER: Franklin Roosevelt’s D-Day Prayer

June 30, 2014

They Fight To End Conquest My Fellow Americans: Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our Allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation.  It has come to pass with success thus far. And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in  prayer: Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity. Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith. They will need thy blessings.  Their road will be long and hard.  For the enemy is [...]

SACRIFICE: Asceticism And Sacrifice by Thomas Merton

May 13, 2014

From No Man Is an Island There is no such thing as a sacrifice of ourselves that is merely self-destruction.  We sacrifice ourselves to God by the spiritualization of our whole being through obedience to his grace.  The only sacrifice he accepts is the purity of our love.  Any renunciation that helps us to love God more is good and useful.  A renunciation that may be noble in itself is useless for us if God does not will us to make it. In order to spiritualize our lives and make them pleasing to God, we must become quiet.  The peace of a soul that is detached from all things and from itself is the sign that our sacrifice is truly acceptable to God. Bodily agitation agitates the soul.  But we cannot tranquilize our spirit by forcing [...]

PRAYER: A Quiet Witness In The Desert by Holly Bridges

February 10, 2014

From A Circle of Prayer No power is greater than the power of people who meet in love together. In 1957 a small group of people, mostly Quakers, walked out into the Nevada desert and formed a circle.  The vast silence of the place, its stark but intricate beauty – rocks, yucca, sagebrush – masked the destruction churning and poisoning the land.  The group’s presence in the nuclear bomb test zone was both prayer and protest.  It occurred at the height of Cold War hostilities.  The nation was infatuated with tools of annihilation, which were hailed as the key to the country’s strength and global ascendancy. This tiny group in the desert, by contrast, believed that such a course was a terrible evil against humanity – [...]

SERMON: A Christmas Sermon On Peace by Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 26, 2014

PEACE ON EARTH This Christmas season finds us a rather bewildered human race.  We have neither peace within nor peace without.  Everywhere paralyzing fears harrow people by day and haunt them by night.  Our world is sick with war; everywhere we turn we see its ominous possibilities.  And yet, my friends, the Christmas hope for peace and goodwill toward all men can no longer be dismissed as a kind of pious dream of some utopian.  If we don’t have goodwill toward men in this world, we will destroy ourselves by the misuse of our own instruments and our own power.  Wisdom born of experience should tell us that war is obsolete.  There may have been a time when war served as a negative good by preventing the spread and growth of an evil [...]

SATURDAY READING: Peace — A Religious Responsibility, by Thomas Merton

January 25, 2014

Between 1918 and 1939 religious opposition to war was articulate and widespread, all over Europe and America.  Peace movements of significant proportions were active in Germany, Britain, and the United States.  Yet they were crushed without difficulty and almost without protest by totalitarian regimes on the one hand, and silenced by the outbreak of a clearly defensive war on the other.  Since 1945 there has been nothing to compare with the earlier movements of protest.  Instead we have witnessed the enormous and crudely contrived fiction of the Communist Peace Movement which has been accepted with disillusioned resignation on one side of the Iron Curtain while, on the other, it has managed to make almost all efforts of independent [...]