St. Joseph Catholic Church
To be an instrument of peace means being a peacekeeper who is willing to look beyond “me” and stop the plague of retaliation that creeps into the field of the soul. As Jesus says, “But I say to you, do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also” (Matthew 5:39). Following the Divine Master’s example on Calvary, we absorb the violence and pain inflicted upon us. We refuse to continue the vicious cycle of violence by striking back, retaliating or seeking revenge. In doing so, we move beyond “me” to “thee” as the internal pain we experience becomes a tributary of external peace for others.
Patterned after unambiguous, significant moments in the life of Christ and instituted by him, the sacraments are a great gift of the Church. They draw us into the life of God and open us to God’s loving care. From birth until death, we experience this loving care in concrete ways, through signs and symbols that really communicate that which they symbolize. Our personal faith and conviction do not impart power into the symbols used by the Church; Christ does. The efficacious nature of the sacraments is wholly a work of God, which the Church safeguards and celebrates. With or without our willingness to believe, God continues to offer himself to us because of his love and care.
Prayer is the energy of evangelical life because it transforms the desire for gospel life into the practice of gospel living. Clare’s template of prayer, gaze—consider—contemplate—imitate, is the template of evangelical life and the relationship with God that makes this life alive.
—from the book Franciscan Prayer
In the Peace Prayer, we pray to sow light amid darkness. Indeed, our vocation is to become a contemporary keeper of the flame. We must fan the flame of faith that has illumined our paths since the day of our baptism. The Peace Prayer reminds us to brighten the lives of others with godly actions that manifest our familial bonds as children of the loving God who, in the words of Francis of Assisi, is reflected in Brother Sun.
Gathering the ordinary teaches when enough is enough and allows our senses to be fed with simplicity. We view life with eyes of wonder and awe, and we care for one another with reverence. We discover how to be humble and simple of heart. Humility and ordinariness flow with rich spiritual wisdom.
Our mission is to work toward bringing about a kingdom of justice, love, and peace. By laying down our lives and taking up our cross, we extend into the world the kingdom of God, even as we daily pray for its coming. Through love and service, we build up the kingdom of heaven on earth. Through love and service, we will inherit the land, for meekness derives from the strength to resist controlling, manipulating, and subjugating others. Our royal mission is to be emissaries of Christ, who came not to condemn the world, but to save it through sacrificial love.
As a peacemaker for others, I take a prophetic stand by committing myself to uprooting any source of hatred, injury, despair, sadness or darkness that these people endure. I stand up and speak out against any form of prejudice, discrimination or injustice. Though I might speak with the anger of a prophet, I never use violence or incite violence when working for peace. Peace is never bequeathed through a clenched fist or proclaimed through the barrel of a pistol.