Blessed are the peacemakerscandle14

The renowned Buddhist monk and peace activist, Thich Nhat Hanh was once asked this question: “Who caused the war in Iraq?” “I did”, was his answer.  In a profound sense, his answer was correct. 

People deeply attuned to the unity within the cosmos understand that everything and everyone is connected. If our thoughts are peaceful then we radiate peace around us, but if they are not then we are spreading discord.  “We are not at peace with others because we are not at peace with ourselves, and we are not at peace with ourselves because we are not at peace with God”, said the Catholic monk Thomas Merton back in the early 1960’s.

January 1st is World Peace Day, when we allow thoughts of peace to come to the forefront of our lives.  Every year the Pope gives an important talk on Peace. Peace, he says this time, is a gift of God, but also something we can and must work for. “Blessed are the peacemakers”, said Jesus. There are many different ways we contribute to peace. But first of all, it must begin with myself, as Merton said.

Think of the violence in today’s world. The victims of conflict end up fleeing, either to other regions of their countries or abroad. They are not to blame for their plight. But perhaps we have played a part?  Let us remember Merton’s words, and make this new year one where each of us strives to create peace within ourselves, so that it will then radiate out to others, even reaching – who knows ? – the hearts of  oppressors everywhere.  In that way we will be helping to create a more just and peaceful world where every individual and family can live in peace and wellbeing. A happy and blessed 2013!                                                                                    

by  C Dorgan