Tuesday, August 4, 2020

"Making Peace a Reality in Your Life " from A Promise of Presence, by Bridget Mary Meehan

Unsplash- Anatoly Anakin 



"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you."

John 14:27 (NRSV)


During the history of humankind, people around the world have dreamed of living together in harmony and tranquility.

But through the centuries, conflicts and wars have built walls of division and hostility between people. As a result, we may wonder if peace is just an impossible dream, or is there, in fact, hope for its fulfillment on Earth?


The source of misunderstanding is often our inability to listen to others and to speak truthfully and lovingly to them. To undo the conflicts between family members, communities in society, religious traditions, and nations, we need to commit ourselves to listening deeply to ourselves, others and God's Spirit guiding our hearts.


On one occasion when I experienced job-related stress. I could not sleep and worried constantly. I became physically ill and was diagnosed with a heart problem. I felt like a mouse running through a maze that had no beginning or end. One day as I was driving to church I thought I was going to lose consciousness, so I pulled off the road. I realized then that my condition was serious and that I needed to "get a grip" on myself.



I began working with a spiritual therapist on in-depth meditation that, I believe, saved my life. In this process, I learned how to befriend my painful emotions the way a mother holds her infant when she cries. I did this by breathing in and recognizing my feelings, and by breathing out and calming my feelings. After practicing this mindful meditation for several months, I was able to see the truth about myself and the others involved in my situation.

I was able to calmly place all of it in God's embrace- giving and receiving forgiveness and healing. I was able to deal with the justice issues and at the same time view the people involved with under­ standing. I felt like I was seeing myself and others as Jesus does: with compassion.

The truth is we can all live more peaceful lives. Our world will become more tranquil as individuals, families and nations dissolve prejudices and heal the conflicts that exist among us. The words of Jesus, "Peace, I leave with you; my peace I give to you," are a reminder that the dream of peace in our lives and world can be a powerful reality for us- now.





DAY 1

Do the following breathing prayer for ten to twenty minutes:

Breathing in, I embrace my emotions (anger, anxiety, sadness, guilt, loneliness, etc.) 

Breathing out, I calm my feelings.

Breathing in, I am peaceful. Breathing out, I let go and let God.



DAY 2

Be aware of a relationship in which you need to give or receive forgiveness. Picture yourself in the embrace of God sharing your thoughts and feelings about this relationship with God. Do not censor your feelings; pour them all out. When you are finished, simply rest in God's tender love for you. Listen deeply to anything God may want to reveal to your heart. Now picture the person whom you need to forgive or receive forgiveness from. See this person being held with you in God's embrace. Observe what God does for that person. Listen as God shares the fullness of divine forgiveness and healing with both of you. If there is anything you want to say to this person, say it in the presence of God.



DAY 3

Imagine what the world would be like if we lived Jesus' dream of peace. How would your life be different? What would your family relationships be like? How would communities in society, religious traditions and nations be different? As these thoughts and images come to mind, let this be your prayer:

May the dream of peace in the heart of jesus be a reality in my life and our world.



DAY4

Pray one of the following mantras, or create your own, that re­

minds you of Jesus' dream of peace:

I see myself and all creation living together in peace. 

Today I am one with everyone and everything.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.


DAY 5

Take a walk. As you walk, be mindful that each step you take creates harmony. Caress the Earth with your feet. Massage creation with your touch. See the beauty of nature all around you: trees, plants, flowers, birds, sky, sun, moon, stars, wind. This is your peace prayer.



DAY 6

Take a step today to work for peace by transforming your preju­dices, fears and ignorance. What can you do to end the cycle of violence, discrimination and frustration in the world? Be aware of something that will make a positive contribution to peace in your family, community, neighborhood or nation.

DAY 7

Make this your prayer today:

God, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is doubt, faith;

where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.

Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;

to be understood as to understand;

to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

and it is in dying that we are born into eternal life.

St. Francis of Assisi


BMM

This meditation is from A Promise of Presence by Bridget Mary Meehan and Regina Madonna Oliver

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