At the end of the old year and the beginning of the new, I, like so many others, pray for peace. In a world torn apart by conflict and war, peace is sorely needed. And so I pray for peace in Syria, Iraq and South Sudan, as well as the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. And then there are those conflicts and insurgencies that we hear little about – the Mexican drug war, the Libyan civil war and the Kashmir conflict – I pray for peace there too.
Praying for peace is essential, but so too is listening to those wise words by that monk, spiritual writer and activist Thomas Merton, when he reminds us the genesis of war and peace takes place within our souls. Thus he wrote:
Instead of hating the people you think are war-makers, hate the appetites and disorder in your own soul, which are the causes of war. If you love peace, then hate injustice, hate tyranny, hate greed – but hate these things in yourself, not in another.
That we need to first look inwards is obvious to Merton; may that seed planted in Merton’s mind be transposed into our souls in 2015 and beyond. And so I wish you a peaceful and reflective New Year!
(P.S. Please do like the Merton Fellowship for Peace & Contemplative Living in Ireland’s facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/MertonIreland) or bookmark our website (www.mertonfellowship.wordpress.com)).