By Fr. Max Oliva, S.J.
"Blessed are the Peacemakers" (Matthew 5:9)
There are a variety of synonyms for peace: harmony, serenity, tranquility, silence, stillness. Serenity suggests dignity, composure and graciousness; tranquility implies having a healthy command of one’s emotions perhaps because a strong faith keeps one unagitated even in the midst of turmoil. Consider the first stanza of a Japanese version of Psalm 23, “The Lord is my Shepherd” –
The Lord is my pace setter. I shall not rush,
He makes me stop and rest for quiet intervals.
He provides me with images of stillness
Which restore my serenity.
As a way of focusing ourselves on the Christmas Season, here is my Christmas “Gift of Peace” wish list:
“If you want peace, act with justice´ (Psalm 72)
“The wolf shall be a guest of the lamb…” (Isaiah 11:6)
WHEN PEACE RUNS INTO A ROADBLOCK:
A “gap’ sometimes appears in our life. It may be caused by the economy, by the political scene, or it might be the result of some deeply personal hurt. Basically, it occurs: when our expectations and our reality are not in sync, when our hopes and what is do not meet, or when what ‘ought’ to be, for some reason, isn’t. The tension between these poles makes us feel uncomfortable.
Yet, it is in this ‘gap,’ which sometimes can be tragic, that we need to ask ourselves some important questions:
(I am grateful to the authors in the magazine, Weavings (March/April, 2009), for their insights into what is known as the “Tragic Gap.”)
(November/December 2010 Newsletter)