This week, I'm posting a series of quotes about peace on our monastery Facebook page and asking all our Facebook followers to join in praying for peace. It's really got me thinking about how much I do promote peace through the way I live.
I'm a Benedictine, monastic sister and the Benedictine motto is the Latin word for peace, "pax" - I have to take seriously my responsibility to make peace a reality in my life. Part of how I can do that is through prayer. Prayer is at the core of Benedictine life. Three times a day, our community gathers in the oratory for communal prayer, Liturgy of the Hours. We chant and recite the psalms as Benedictines have done throughout the ages. I think back to that long line of monastics stretching right back to the time of St. Benedict in the sixth century and it makes me very aware that I am part of a chain of humanity. But my human connection isn't just to the past, it's also with the human beings who at this moment are suffering violence, injustice, imprisonment and prejudice. When I look at my prayer in this broader panorama, it makes me very conscious that our prayer is a prayer for the world and I can more intentionally say the words as a means to lift up to God all the misery and suffering that we, as human beings, cause to one another.
Prayer is important as an instrument of peace, but prayer has to lead to action, have an influence on the way I live. So I have to be conscious that every time I speak sharply to someone, ignore their distress because I'm too busy or make a judgment without knowing the facts, I'm not furthering peace, I'm furthering an attitude of violence. If I can't make my own path a path of peace, how can I hope to influence anyone else to choose peace rather than violence? Many of the challenges to peace in my life are small - they stem from daily irritations in ordinary encounters, but they mount up and , if I don't pay attention, I can find myself becoming an ungenerous, unloving, non-peaceful person. I have to keep trying. I have to make myself consciously, with God's help, an instrument of peace.
Karen Rose, OSB
Photo: Statue of St Benedict in Sacred Heart Chapel by Verenice Ramler, OSB
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