The Path of Peace
Barbara Howard of Independence, MO, USA
Reprinted from Journey of Joy, Herald House, 1990
I will sing of your steadfast love, O Lord, forever; with my mouth I will proclaim your faithfulness to all generations. -Psalm 89:1
For a number of years our sons had a large poster on the wall of their bedroom. It pictured an ascending dove in the blue sky with the words emblazoned, “There is no way to peace; peace is the way.” A. J. Muste, author of the words, was a peace activist all his life. He helped found the Fellowship of Reconciliation, an organization still committed to peace and justice.
“Peace is the way.” Of course. But how do I find the way? How does my restless heart discover the joy innate in peace? How do I live in peace in the midst of a world of terror and destruction? How can I become a peacemaker?
Years ago, during the boys’ teens I would see the sign from the corner of my eye after some unpleasant confrontation. It seemed to be calling me to a new way of being. Today, our sons are men. The years have taught us all a great deal about the value of each other and of family. A. J. Muste is right, I believe. But finding that way is more than just believing. Peacemaking takes skill and effort.
Justice may be another name for peace. Acts of justice unearth a quality of joy found in no other way. Justice clothes in flesh the joy of peace. “If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? So faith by itself, if it has not works, is dead” (James 2:15-17 RSV).
“Your mercies are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23, adapted).
Ordinary Time is a season for noticing the details of life that make up its substance. This month, we invite you to pay attention with each fresh morning to the gift of being alive. Before getting out of bed, take a few deep breaths and notice what it feels like to wake up in your own body. Engage the tasks of your unfolding day with reverence-brushing your teeth, making the bed, pouring the coffee, tending the kids, feeding the animals, making breakfast, etc. Notice the presence of the Holy in every ordinary thing. Embrace your daily routines with sacramental significance. Notice how long you can do this before your attention is taken away, and commit to returning to this simple awareness as gently and often as you can.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.