August 2007 - Volume 12, Issue 1

Editorial – Peace

By Rev. Mark Connolly

Photo of a Dove in flightOne of the most elusive words in the English language is the word peace. Every generation, since the beginning of recorded civilization, has tried to develop a lasting peace. Whether you go back to the history of Rome or right down to the present day, with all our peace treaties, this word peace seems to escape us. When you think of President Carter and the Camp David accords, and all the efforts for peace that were made and soon to be broken, you wonder what it is that just prevents us from getting hold of this elusive quality.

Is it, as Benjamin Franklin, said that each country has it own self interest whenever that country is negotiating? Is it, as General MacArthur, said the fact that most people do not have the same understanding of the word peace? Is it possible because we have forgotten the common good of society that we want our particular needs to violate the common good of others. All of these questions have been asked all throughout the centuries and still we don't have what we call a lasting peace.

Inasmuch as our world is always to be troubled by the factor of no lasting peace, each one has to do his best for his family, his community or his country, to bring a personal peace into his life so that peace can be shared and distributed to others. If you read the beautiful hymn of love written by St. Paul to the Corinthians, he gives a beautiful map of life when he talks about love and its power. "Love is kind, love is patient, love is not envious". The whole hymn to love goes on giving us a map of life that if implemented can bring peace in our lives and the lives of those with whom we live and work.

If you take that beautiful section of Corinthians and you join it with the beautiful prayer of St. Francis of Assisi where he says, "Lord, make me an instrument of peace, where there is sadness, let me bring joy; where there is hatred, let me bring love", he, too, in his own way repeats the central ideas of St. Paul and the Epistle to the Corinthians. There has to come a time in the lives of each one of us when we recognize that we probably will never have a permanent lasting peace in our lifetime simply because of the misunderstanding of what peace means and oftentimes a lot of people do not want peace.

You know as well as I certain cultures have barbaric practices. Whether it is in the form of beheading or torturing, or destroying individuals for the sake of peace, you know their value system is totally wrong. For those who really want peace, we have to go back to the teachings of Christ, to the teachings of a man like St. Paul or a man like St. Francis of Assisi and recognize that they have given us the ingredients for peace. But it starts on a personal level. Yes, we can hope that the White House and all of these other place where peace conferences take place that a world peace will definitely follow, that wars will be done away with. But, we know from our track record in history that all our conferences, all our peace treaties have not had great lasting values.

So the challenge is for each person, how much personal peace can you bring into your life and the lives of others? How much do you implement the teachings of Christ, the teachings of St. Paul and the teachings of St. Francis of Assisi? Yes, we know if you implement those thoughts and writings your life will be better, your family life will be better and your community life will be better. Maybe in the future someone will come up with a master plan for peace that will be long lasting and more stable than we are now.

But until that happens, each one has the obligation to work for the peace about which Christ spoke when he said, "my peace I leave with you, my peace I give onto you".