Thoughts To Live By…

Archive for January 2nd, 2009

Our God is merciful and tender.
He will guide our steps
into the path of peace.

Luke 1:78-79

On Christmas eve, during the
Franco-Prussian War in 1870,
French soldiers and German
soldiers faced each other in
trenches, a short distance apart.

Suddenly, a French soldier stood
on top of the mound of dirt and
began singing “O Holy Night.”
Not a shot was fired.

When the French soldier ended,
a German soldier did the same,
singing “From Heaven to Earth
Come.” Not a soldier present that
Christmas ever forgot the event.

What lesson might that event
hold me? For our world?

Someday people will want peace
so badly that governments had
better get out of their way and let
them have it.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Author: Mark Link SJ

John XXIII in the first paragraph of his encyclical Pacem in Terris (1963) wrote: “All men of every age have most eagerly yearned for peace on earth.” And yet, as we look at our world today we see situations of un-peace: wars, violence, division, injustice, oppression and exploitation, deteriorating poverty and un-love.

The list at the Global Peace Index shows the GPI rankings for the 140 countries analysed in 2008 and the 121 countries analysed in 2007, as well as year-on-year comparison. Countries most at peace are ranked first. A lower score indicates a more peaceful country. You can click on a country to see the detail of its peace indicators and drivers.

Below are the 15 most violent countries listed in descending order to the most violent, which is Iraq.

  1. Myanmar
  2. Pakistan
  3. Democratic Republic of the Congo
  4. Nigeria
  5. Colombia
  6. Russia
  7. Lebanon
  8. North Korea
  9. Central African Republic
  10. Chad
  11. Israel
  12. Afghanistan
  13. Sudan
  14. Somalia
  15. Iraq

“We desire peace and therefore, St. Thomas adds, “we desire to obtain what we desire” (Summa Theologiae, II-II, 29, 2). Hence, all men and women of good will have to pursue and work for peace of all. For “peace is either for all or for none” (John Paull II, SRS 26).

“Do all you can to live at peace with everyone” (Rom 12:18).  “Love your enemies and pray for your persecutors. This will prove that we are sons and daughters of our heavenly Father” (Mt 5:44-45), do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who persecute you, love your enemies, rejoice with those who are joyful, weep with those who weep, live in peace with one another and conquer evil with good (see Rm 12:14-16, 21). Gandhi’s reminder is still relevant and urgent today: “A tooth for a tooth, an eye for an eye makes the world toothless and blind.” Let us promote peace for all nonviolently and peacefully.

Prayer For Peace

Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, no strength known but the strength of love: So mightily spread abroad your Spirit, that all peoples may be gathered under the banner of the Prince of Peace, as children of one Father; to whom be dominion and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

[Book of Common Prayer, p. 815]

1. We commit ourselves to proclaiming our firm conviction that violence and terrorism are incompatible with the authentic spirit of religion, and, as we condemn every recourse to violence and war in the name of God or of religion, we commit ourselves to doing everything possible to eliminate the root causes of terrorism.

2. We commit ourselves to educating people to mutual respect and esteem, in order to help bring about a peaceful and fraternal coexistence between people of different ethnic groups, cultures and religions.

3. We commit ourselves to fostering the culture of dialogue, so that there will be an increase of understanding and mutual trust between individuals and among peoples, for these are the premise of authentic peace.

4. We commit ourselves to defending the right of everyone to live a decent life in accordance with their own cultural identity, and to form freely a family of his own.

5. We commit ourselves to frank and patient dialogue, refusing to consider our differences as an insurmountable barrier, but recognizing instead that to encounter the diversity of others can become an opportunity for greater reciprocal understanding.

6. We commit ourselves to forgiving one another for past and present errors and prejudices, and to supporting one another in a common effort both to overcome selfishness and arrogance, hatred and violence, and to learn from the past that peace without justice is no true peace.

7. We commit ourselves to taking the side of the poor and the helpless, to speaking out for those who have no voice and to working effectively to change these situations, out of the convinction that no one can be happy alone.

8. We commit ourselves to taking up the cry of those who refuse to be resigned to violence and evil, and we are desire to make every effort possible to offer the men and women of our time real hope for justice and peace.

9. We commit ourselves to encouraging all efforts to promote friendship between peoples, for we are convinced that, in the absence of solidarity and understanding between peoples, technological progress exposes the world to a growing risk of destruction and death.

10. We commit ourselves to urging leaders of nations to make every effort to create and consolidate, on the national and international levels, a world of solidarity and peace based on justice.

Source:  A Day of Prayer for Peace in the world that took place in Assisi.


More than 10,000 Buddhist monks gather near Lopburi in Thailand to pray for peace.

“May He banish from the hearts of all men and women whatever might endanger peace.

May He transform them into witnesses of truth, justice and love.

May He enkindle the rulers of peoples so that in addition to their solicitude for the proper welfare of their citizens, they may guarantee and defend the great gift of peace.

May He enkindle the wills of all so that they may overcome the barriers that divide, cherish the bonds of mutual charity, understand others, and pardon those who have done them wrong.

May all peoples of the earth become as brothers and sisters, and may the most longed-for peace blossom forth and reign always among men and women.”

Source: Pacem in Terris, Pope John XXIII, 4/11/63

January 2009


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