Peace Begins with Me
If charity begins at home, then peace begins with me. In other words, we are responsible
for the choice of looking at the world through the eyes of peace. All that is well and good
until … someone desires the same object of affection we desire, until someone ruins our
fondest project, violates our ‘rights’, steals our possessions, undermines our reputation,
gets the promotion we think we deserved, betrays our trust, threatens our livelihood – yes,
seeks our life. How do we react then? Where do we go with our resentment and powerful
drive to get even? Where do we find the strength of love to forgive those who boss us
around, who hurt us, even persecute and abuse us?
It is certainly true that the peaceful interaction between individuals may snowball into a
powerful and effective social force on a large scale, and that lasting peace must begin in
the hearts and minds of us all. However, is it not also true that as long as resentment and
rivalry remain unconquered in our own hearts, these will be vented somewhere setting in
motion once again the vicious spiral of hatred and violence?
Those who have honestly faced the darkness of their own hearts will not be deceived by
the delusionary bumper sticker slogan “Peace is a teddy bear”. Rather, their ‘inner man’
has been regenerated by the Spirit of Peace and has been trained in the rigors of a spiritual
battle against mythical forces that lurk deep within the human psyche.
They know that the transformation of the world does not depend, in the final analysis, on
human initiative such as a utilitarian shift of consciousness or a social contract, but on
God’s redeeming love. They know from personal experience that the peace we all long for
is more than “wishful thinking”. They are very aware that this peace is the fruit of the same
unflinching personal engagement with the powers of death that Jesus underwent in his
Passion, as the Scripture make clear:
“To him who overcomes, I...