“Everyone can be an artisan of peace,” Pope Francis stated in his message for the 50th World Day of Peace, which will be celebrated January 1, 2017. We are encouraged by and find inspiration from these words to continue in the creation of the Peace of Christ.
Pope Francis teaches us that being peace creates peace. We all can cultivate peace by looking within and committing to a spirituality of active nonviolence. God’s peace lives within us, and we cannot forget that we have access to this wellspring of creative energy at all times. When we tap into this truth we create a living current of peace and offer a real gift to the world.
Pope Francis specifically said, “No religion is terrorist.” We take this as a call to fully embrace our Muslim brothers and sisters, and elevate the religion of Islam. The word Islam means peace. We do not scapegoat our Muslim friends, rather seek to be in relationship with them. We know it is important to move beyond our comfort zones, embrace other’s sufferings, and be in relationship with those who have been marginalized.
Pope Francis considers nonviolence to be a “style of politics for peace.” We want our politicians to have conversations that speak to and promote the common good, and we want them to approach their duties with integrity and respect for all of humanity. We advocate for policies that promote sustained peace, because we know that if there’s justice, there is also peace. Therefore, the pressing issues of this time, including: racism, xenophobia, sexism, Islamophobia, climate change, vast economic inequality, and the industrial military complex, must be radically transformed to relieve the suffering of the world. It is time for a “politics of peace,” which prioritizes people over laws.
There is no place for violence in a heart at peace and in a world that is just. All deserve the fulfillment of their human needs and to live their days on earth in peace and contentment. We are grateful to join with many organizations in this effort, and encourage you to see their responses to Pope Francis’ message as well. Let us embrace and take seriously our ability to be artisans of peace and co-creators of justice.