Rev. John Dear, Rev. John Dear, S.J.
Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace

Editor’s note: This meditation is the fourth of a five-part summer series on the peace writings in the psalms.

“I will listen for the word of the God of peace. Surely the God of peace will proclaim peace to God’s people, to the faithful, to those who trust in the God of peace … Love and truth will embrace; justice and peace will kiss. Truth will spring from the earth; justice will look down from heaven.” (Ps. 85: 9-12)

Psalm 85 is one of the most beautiful prayers, one of the most imaginative poems, one of the greatest pieces of writing in all of literature. Better than Shakespeare, Yeats and Eliot rolled into one. It combines our best prayer for God’s mercy upon humanity, our best hope for God’s word of peace, and our best vision of what that peace might look like.

I think this psalm is the hope and vision of the nonviolent Jesus. He dreams this dream and acts upon it, and in his Sermon on the Mount, teaches us how to make this hope and vision come true. His prayer fulfills Psalm 85: “Your reign of peace, your will of justice, be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

The text instructs us in the basics of prayer, and in doing so, gives us a way forward. All we have to do is listen attentively every day in our contemplative prayer for the word of the God of peace, and then act on that word. If we do, good things will follow.

That means we sit in silent meditation and ask the God of peace to speak, wait for God to speak, hear exactly what God has to say, and try to fulfill that word. This is the journey of a lifetime. This is what we will be doing in heaven, so meditation is actually just practice for the new life of peace to come…

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