PEACE: Thomas Merton’s Call To Contemplation And Action by Henri Nouwen

January 24, 2014

From The Road to Peace A reading from the Second Letter of Peter: This point must not be overlooked, dear friends.  In the Lord’s eyes, one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years are as a day.  The Lord does not delay in keeping his promises – though some consider it “delay.”  Rather, he shows you generous patience, since he wants none to perish but all to come to repentance.  The day of the Lord will come like a thief, and on that day the heavens will vanish with a roar: the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the Earth and all its deeds will be made manifest. Since everything is to be destroyed in this way, what sort of men and women must you be!  How holy in your conduct and devotion, looking for the coming [...]

PEACE: The Spirit of Violence And The Matter Of Peace, by Alan W. Watts

January 23, 2014

Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.  Nan-in served tea.  He poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring. The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself.  “It is overfull.  No more will go in!” “Like this cup,” Nan-in said, “you are full of your own opinions and speculations.  How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?” (Zen Flesh, Zen Bones) The idea that man has an instinct for violence must be questioned.  Instincts, whether for violence, survival, reproduction, or food, would seem to be causes or explanations of the same type as humors, demons, or “acts of God” – that is [...]

POETRY: In The Refectory, by Alcuin

January 22, 2014

Lord Christ, we pray thy mercy on our table spread, And what thy gentle hands have given thy men Let it by thee be blessed: whate’er we have Came from thy lavish heart and gentle hand, And all that’s good is thine, for thou art good. And ye that eat, give thanks for it to Christ, And let the words ye utter be only peace, For Christ loved peace: it was himself that said, Peace I give unto you, my peace I leave with you. Grant that our own may be a generous hand Breaking the bread for all poor men, sharing the food. Christ shall receive the bread thou gavest his poor, And shall not tarry to give thee [...]

POETRY: Peace, by Elizabeth Akers

January 22, 2014

“Peace I leave with you!” From the days departed Floats down the blessing, simple and serene, Which to his followers, few and fearful-hearted, With yearning love thus spake the Nazarene,— “Peace I leave with you!” “Peace I leave with you!”—and his words I borrow To wrap about you like a suite of mail,— The power to give I earned in bitter sorrow, And by your faith in me, it shall not fail;— “Peace I leave with you!” “My peace I give unto you!”—but bestowing Robbed not his soul of its tranquility,— While I,—the peace I give to you, in going, Is leaving me in utter poverty,— “Peace I leave with you!” Therefore, because I keep it not, as solely To my own [...]

POETRY: The Peace Of Wild Things, by Wendell Berry

January 21, 2014

When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am [...]

HOMILY: The Peace Which Christ Gives His True Followers, by Jonathan Edwards

January 21, 2014

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. (John 14:27) This legacy of Christ to his true disciples is very diverse from all that the men of this world ever leave to their children when they die.  The men of this world, many of them, when they come to die, have great estates to bequeath to their children, an abundance of the good things of this world, large tracts of ground, perhaps in a fruitful soil, covered with flocks and herds.  They sometimes leave to their children stately mansions, and vast treasures of silver, gold, jewels, and precious things, fetched from both the Indies, and from every side of the globe of the Earth.  They leave them wherewith to live in much state and [...]

PEACE: Reading Poetry To Cats

January 20, 2014

I live in a house with five cats. None of which are mine. Four of which are nobody’s.  They were all left by I’m-an-adult girls who abandoned them for someone else to care for. Three of these belong to my own daughter, Lila. When Lila had what I thought would be a stable address, I started making my plans to deliver her responsibilities to her.  But then she moved.  Just out of reach for a midday cat delivery. These cats form a ring of old, ragged hags that out-witch Hamlet’s three any day of the week.  At least those dark ladies spoke to one another. Lila’s cats, on the other hand, come into each other’s company always with knives drawn ready to rumble. And they’re all related. It’s a wonder. [...]

PRAYER: Calm My Heart, by Soren Kierkegaard

January 20, 2014

(By Soren Kierkegaard, edited) O Lord, calm the waves of this heart; and calm its tempests. Calm yourself, O my soul, so that the divine can act in you. Calm yourself, O my soul, so that God is able to repose in you, so that his peace may cover you. Yes, Father in Heaven, often have I found that the world around me cannot give me peace, O but make me feel that you are able to give me peace.  Let me know the truth of your promise, that the whole world may not take away your peace. [...]

PRAYER: Called to Peace

January 20, 2014

Author unknown (When I say this prayer, I insert the name of the person I am praying for at the beginning of each line.) You can be at peace, for God loves you and is with you now and always,  guiding you, helping you, healing you. You can be at peace, for God is lifting you up and over every obstacle, leading you through every darkness, and providing for your every need. You can be at peace, for you are the Father’s child – innately spiritual, strong, whole, courageous, capable, and able to do all things easily and well. You can be at peace, for you are ever one with the Father, whose loving arms are now around you, bringing release and reassurance. You can be at peace, dear friend, for you are never alone. You have the very [...]

FORGIVENESS: The Human And The Divine, by The Monks Of New Skete

December 3, 2013

From In The Spirit Of Happiness To forgive may be divine, but it is also a distinctively human phenomenon.  One of the principal effects of forgiveness in an increase in the humanness of the forgiver as well as of the one being forgiven.  The perennial popularity of Jesus over and above institutional religion is the peacefulness and serenity of his life, the way he treated others, the magnanimity of his heart, and his ability to say, “Your sins are forgiven” – not “I forgive you,” but, “Your sins are already forgiven” – restoring the individual to serenity of mind and peacefulness of soul.  As much as anything else, this is what Jesus embodied. Brother David raised his hand and asked if he [...]

POETRY: Paper Cranes: (The Hibakusha Come To Gethsemani), by Thomas Merton

November 22, 2013

How can we tell a paper bird Is stronger than a hawk When it has no metal for talons? It needs no power to kill Because it is not hungry. Wilder and wiser than eagles It ranges round the world Without enemies And free of cravings. The child’s hand Folding these wings Wins no wars and ends them all. Thoughts of a child’s heart Without care, without weapons! So, the child’s eye Gives life to what it loves Kind as the innocent sun And lovelier than all [...]

COMMUNITY: Peace Begins With One Person by Ivory Harlow

September 3, 2013

From This I Believe I serve coffee at a counter-style diner in Texas.  I often see a look of isolation in my customers’ eyes.  They come in the front door, wander to the counter, pick up the menu, and look around the diner for something they can’t short-order: a connection. In an age of online chat, online shopping, and even online school, it’s no wonder people come into the diner starving for human connection.  Most of my customers can remember a time when the milkman came to their front door.  As I serve up their eggs and bacon, they offer updates on their grandchildren.  They ask me about the happenings in my life. One day, I walked to the back of the smoking section to pass around a fresh pot of coffee.  There [...]

PRAYER: Pius XII’s Prayer for Peace

April 30, 2013

Our Father, who art in Heaven, our God and our protector, turn your eyes upon Christ, your son.  Behold the crimson marks of his wounds to which he was brought through love of us and obedience to you.  Through these wounds he willed to be our advocate and peacemaker in all our sorrows. O Jesus, our savior, speak to your father and ours.  Plead with him for us, and for your church, yes, for all mankind purchased with your blood.  You are the king that gives peace. You are the prince of peace.  You have the keys of life and death.  Grant peace and eternal rest to the souls of all who are caught up in this whirlwind of war and swept unto death.  Some are known, others unknown.  For some tears are shed, for others there are none to [...]

STATIONS OF THE CROSS: Ninth Station — Jesus Falls For The Third Time, by Joseph Cardinal Bernardin

March 2, 2013

From The Journey to Peace I am like water poured out; All my bones are racked My heart has become like wax melting away within my bosom. My throat is dried up like baked clay, my tongue cleaves to my jaws; to the dust of death you have brought me down. (Psalm 22:15-16) The Cross is Difficult But Also Sweet and Easy The cross is a symbol of suffering and death as well as victory.  The cross, in so many ways, is reflective of life – both its agonies and its ecstasies.  For the person of faith, despite all the suffering, it is ultimately both the symbol and cause of victory.  In recent months the cross, my brothers, has never been more difficult or sweeter to me. My spiritual journey goes back for many years.  But it did not really [...]

POETRY: Prayer for this House, by Louis Untermeyer

February 6, 2013

May nothing evil cross this door, And may ill fortune never pry About these windows; may the roar And rain go by. Strengthened by faith, these rafters will Withstand the batt’ring of the storm; This hearth, though all the world grow chill, Will keep us warm. Peace shall walk softly through these rooms, Touching our lips with holy wine, Till ev’ry casual corner blooms Into a shrine. Laughter shall drown the raucous shout; And, though these shelt’ring walls are thin, May they be strong to keep hate out And hold love [...]

SERMON: To The Newly Baptized — On The Eucharist by Augustine of Hippo

January 13, 2013

What you see here on the Lord’s table, my dear brethren, is bread and wine.  But once the word is pronounced over them, this bread and this wine become the body and the blood of the divine word.  He is the very Lord who “in the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God.” (John 1:1)  Owing to his mercy, the Lord did not disdain the nature created by him in his own image, but, as you know, “the word was made flesh and dwelt among us.”  (John 1:14)  The same word assumed human nature; in other words, he took a human soul and body, became man, yet ever remained God.  And since the word suffered on our behalf, he left us his body and blood in this sacrament, in which he also included us.  For we, [...]

PEACE: A Little Story On Peace From The Desert Fathers by Benedicta Ward

January 13, 2013

From: The Wisdom of the Desert Fathers There were three friends who were eager workers, and one of them chose to devote himself to making peace between people who were fighting in accordance with “Blessed are the peacemakers.”  The second chose to visit the sick.  The third went off to live in tranquility in the desert.  The first toiled away among the human quarrels of men, but could not resolve them all, and so he went to the one who was looking after the sick, and he found him flagging too, not succeeding in fulfilling the commandment.  So the two of them agreed to go and visit the one who was living in the desert.  They told him of their difficulties and asked him to tell them what he had been able to do.  He was [...]

ABANDONMENT: Fruit Of Retreat by Evelyn Underhill

January 10, 2013

A whole and complete self-offering to God for his unseen purpose, willing to accept suffering, darkness, struggle, temptation at his good pleasure. A promise that wherever I go I will say Peace and try to bring peace. That I will give my own spiritual life without reserve into the keeping of God and strive to make my interior attitude one of weak adoration before God. That I will seek to rejoice in the progress of others, especially those who overpass me, rejecting all movements of envy and spiritual jealousy, trying to take lowest place. That I will be silent about my own interior sufferings and try to offer them to [...]

CHRISTMAS MEDITATION: The Disarming Child by Jürgen Moltmann

January 7, 2013

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined. The people will rejoice. For the yoke of their burden and the staff on their shoulder and the rod of their oppressor thou hast broken as on the day of Midian. For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty Hero, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David, and over his kingdom, to establish it and to [...]

SERMON: Various Meanings Of The Kiss by Bernard of Clairvaux

December 30, 2012

During my frequent ponderings on the burning desire with which the patriarchs longed for the incarnation of Christ, I am stung with sorrow and shame.  Even now I can scarcely restrain my tears, so filled with shame am I by the lukewarmness, the frigid unconcern of these miserable times.  For which of us does the consummation of that event fill with as much joy as the mere promise of it inflamed the desires of the holy men of pre-Christian times?  Very soon now there will be great rejoicing as we celebrate the feast of Christ’s birth.  But how I wish it were inspired by his birth!  All the more therefore do I pray that the intense longing of those men of old, their heart-felt expectation, may be enkindled in me by these words: “Let [...]

CHRISTMAS MEDITATION: The Christmas Gospel by Dorothee Söelle

December 27, 2012

When the angels had left them and gone into Heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.”  So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger.  When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them.  But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.  The shepherds returned, glorifying God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. (Luke 2:15-20) For many years I was so disgusted by the commercialization that Christmas has endured, so sickened by the terror of consumption, the [...]

PRAYER: Prayer Practices For the Way of Peace (part 1) by Andrew Dreitcer

December 22, 2012

From Choosing Peace Through Daily Practices, Ellen Ott Marshall, Editor Prayer is not so much formally addressing God with a list of requests as it is acknowledging that our connection to God is absolute, and unending, and urgent.  (Prayers for Courage: Words of Faith for Difficult Times, Melissa Tidwell) Recently, as I was marching with tens of thousands of others to protest the war in Iraq, I was forced to face what it means for me to be a person of peace, a bearer of peace, a builder of peace.  My reflections evoked two memories, from the street and from the monastery. A MEMORY FROM THE STREET A little over twenty years ago, the U.S. military buildup of the 1980s was beginning to impact the national psyche.  A seminary student at the [...]

ADVENT MEDITATION: Christmas Joy by Emmy Arnold

December 12, 2012

To become like children!  The most beautiful childhood memory that comes to my mind is that of celebrating Christmas and the joy of Christmas. Perhaps my experiences of Christmas came from the fact that I was born on Christmas Day.  A hundred days before each Christmas we children would begin to count the days.  Only a hundred times more I will wake up in the morning, and then, hurrah! it’s Christmas Day!  When at six o’clock on the eve of the First Sunday of Advent the bells rang in the Advent season, it seemed as though the angels were exulting, and we little earthly children joined in.  “O welcome, thou blessed Christmas time!” From then on, the joy and eagerness for what was to come mounted with each day.  Sometimes in [...]

ADVENT FIRE: December 5

December 5, 2012

From Becoming Fire: Through the Year with the Desert Fathers and Mothers  Finding Peace Abba Poemen said, “If you take little account of yourself, you will have peace wherever you live.”  He also said, “If you are silent, you will have peace wherever you live.” God’s Power Because no one among mortals lives without tasting death, the father of Abba Bishoy died and the care of the children fell to his most noble wife who suffered alone.  Of all the children, the youngest was Bishoy and, because of his age, he gave his other the most concern, so a kind-looking angel of the Lord appeared unexpectedly in the middle of the night.  “God, the father of orphans, has sent me,” he said.  “Why do you appear so downhearted?  Is [...]

PRAYER: Prayers For Spiritual Needs

November 5, 2012

From Treasury of Novenas To Love God Above All God, my Father, may I love you in all things and above all things. May I reach the joy you have prepared for me in Heaven. Nothing is good that is against your will, and all is good that comes from your hand. Place in my heart a desire to please you and fill my mind with thoughts of your love, and enjoy your peace. Amen. To Know the Way to Peace Father of Heaven and Earth, hear my prayer, and show me the way to peace. Guide each effort of my life, so that my faults and my sins may not keep me from the peace you promised. May the new life of grace you give me through the Eucharist and prayer make my love for you grow and keep me in the joy of your kingdom. Amen. To Live in God’s [...]

EVELYN UNDERHILL: A Meditation on Peace

July 30, 2012

“Meditation on Peace” was published in 1939 by the Fellowship of Reconciliation. It is clear that when Saint Paul made his great list of the fruits of the Spirit, he did not arrange them in any casual order.  They represent a progressive series of states or graces, which develop in the soul from the single budding-point of Love: that pure, undemanding love of God in Himself, and of His creatures, good and bad, congenial and uncongenial, for His sake, which is the raw material of our blessedness.  Such love means a certain share in the Divine generosity, tolerance, and patience towards every manifestation of life: “Whoso dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.”  Whoever then achieves this state of charity and spreads [...]