December 3, 2013 – First Tuesday of Advent
“Peace does not mean an absence of conflicts; differences will always be there. Peace means solving these differences through peaceful means; through dialogue, education, knowledge; and through humane ways. Dalai Lama XIV
Prince of Peace is one of the prophetic expectations of ancient Israel for its Messiah (Isaiah 9:6). It is one of the titles historically associated with Christ in the Church’s observance of Advent. It is the promise of the coming Christ as Prince of Peace and the Reign of God that motivates this deep Christian witness to the hope this promise contains. There is, however, a crucial point that cannot be missed in our Advent-inspired longing: that is, God can do nothing to us, we are not willing to allow God to do through us. Peace has never been, nor will it be an exterior reality. As the Dalai Lama reminds us, peace is a state of being that flows into constructive engagement with the world around us. Peace isn’t the absence of conflict, but the courage to be peaceful within ourselves even when we exist within a world rife with such conflict. It does little for us to pray for peace in Syria, Somalia, Afghanistan, or any other region of conflict in the world if we are harboring unforgiveness or hatred toward others in our own heart. The welcoming of the Prince of Peace into our lives is to welcome soul development. Soul development is the rich soil from which peace can be cultivated. It is then that this inner state of peace can translate into meaningful and constructive action in the world. We know that within a system, when one aspect of the system experiences change—no matter how small—the whole system is affected. So, with the proverbial hymn we can proclaim, “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.”
Practice for the Day:
World peace begins with inner peace. Take an opportunity at mid-day to stop, take a deep breath, and be aware of the moment. From this moment of peace, all peace flows.
Michael C. Richards, D.Min. WVIS Associate Spiritual Director; firstname.lastname@example.org
Link to West Virginia Institute for Spirituality to download all of the Advent contemplations: http://wvis.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Advent-Reflections-2013.pdf