Saturday, January 1, 2011

Models of the Path of Peace

What a week of feast days this is! January 1st-Mary Mother of God, January 2nd-Epiphany, January 3rd-Holy Name of Jesus, January 4th-our American foundress, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, and others to follow the rest of the week! What an inspiring was to start a new year. As Daughters of Charity, throughout the world we are in retreat December 31st each year and on the 1st we have a special consecration. We consecrate this year to the glory of God as modeled by Blessed Mother. I will share just a couple of lines:

"Help us to move forward, during this year, along the pathway of poverty, purity and simplicity in the joy of community. Only then will we be able to witness to your Kingdom of justice, and collaborate in the building up of a world of love and peace."

January 1st was also the 25th World Day of Prayer for Peace. Pope Benedict XVI's message for the day was "Religious Freedom, the Path to Peace." In the last section of his message, he writes, "Peace is a gift of God and at the same time a task which is never fully completed...peace is the result of a process of purification and of cultural, moral and spiritual elevation involving each individual and people, a process in which human dignity is fully respected." That is a great challenge for each of us around the world--love God and respect others totally and selflessly. Hate and fear is stirred up so easily toward strangers. I suppose part of the process for creating the path to peace is to be willing to walk and talk with strangers or perceived enemies. That is where we can find the "common ground" encouraged and nurtured by Cardinal Bernardin. I suppose that saying about "walking a mile in someone else's shoes" is the way of understanding and compassion--the way to peace.

This is not a peace of luke-warmness and the least common-denominator, but of drawing each other to greater wholeness and holiness. How inspiring is my life and how I live it? How about yours? Is Christ shining through our broken humanity? I hope He is and that each day Christ's light might shine a little more brightly in your and my life.

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