“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. We offer this Prayer-Study-Action so you too may participate as an “artisan of peace” on the 50th World Day of Peace.
Prayer – Engage with the readings for January 1, 2017, the World Day of Peace, with this reflection by Sr. Anne-Louise, SNDdeN, originally published in Journey Towards Justice: Reflections for Advent & Christmas.
Numbers 6:22-27, Galatians 4:4-7, Luke 2:16-21
“May God look upon you kindly and give you peace!” Numbers 6:26
If all the energies of all believers coalesced today into a single breath for a world of peace what a revolution would ignite. If only we were all as curious and willing as the shepherds to follow the prompting to look for joy and to share it.
If only we believed that we have an obligation and a responsibility to be peacemakers as told to us in the Galatians reading. We have received the Spirit and for that reason our cry to God is heard.
When was the last time we had the courage to follow a hunch, our intuition, or an inner nudge? When was the last time we allowed ourselves an adventure outside of what we are used to?
We know we stand in need of peace in our homes, our families, our neighborhoods, our cities, our country, and way beyond. We even stand in need of peace within ourselves.
And the blessing has already been given us:
May Yahweh bless and keep you.
May Yahweh’s face shine upon you and be gracious to you!
May Yahweh look kindly upon you and give you peace!
How can we dare to keep this peace to ourselves? How do we share it with the world?
Study – 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.
Action – Here are some suggested actions you can take for the 50th World Day of Peace.
- Invite your pastor and church members to renew the Vow of Nonviolence during liturgy.
- Hold a holy hour for peace.
- Organize an interfaith or ecumenical prayer service on peace.
- Do something with those who have been victims of hate and violence
in your community.
- Ask children from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds to share their ideas about being artisans for peace. The Little Friends of Peace have great resources.
Let us know how you plan to be an “artisan of peace” by filling out this form.
Then print out this banner, take a picture, and share your plans on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with the hashtag #PeaceOfChrist.