What is Peace?
BY GRACE ADAMS | April 17, 2023
What is peace? Many images and ideas around what peace is can arise. Whether it’s the peace symbol, or just stillness or quiet, what is true peace? In today’s readings, we are shown what peace looks like from how the apostles lived after Jesus’ death and then were greeted after His resurrection.
In the Gospel reading, the first thing Jesus says to His disciples is, “Peace be with you.” This greeting presents relief and joy to the disciples as they were living in fear, and it reminds me of what peace means to me. The first reading describes another moment of what the deeper meaning of peace looks like. The apostles, all scared and feeling unsure of the future, take care of each other and are there for one another during this difficult time.
St. Oscar Romero said, “Peace is not the product of terror or fear. Peace is not the silence of cemeteries. Peace is not the silent result of violent repression. Peace is the generous, tranquil contribution of all to the good of all.” At its core, peace is justice, and peace is being in community with one another.I have seen the peace of the “generous, tranquil contribution of all” throughout my life, in loved ones being there for each other during difficult times, and in finding ways to support my community and neighbors. Peace is not always found in silence or stillness but can be found in those working toward justice in our communities. The death and passion of Jesus was filled with injustice, but His resurrection and return to His community is what the peace of the “generous, tranquil contribution of all to the good of all” really means.
We also have opportunities to return to justice and peace. Members of the Catholic Ethical Purchasing Alliance (CEPA) believe that putting more thought into the way we consume and what we buy is one way to create peace. By learning how workers are treated at all levels of the supply chain and the effect our products have on the earth, we can find ways to return to justice. Seek out companies such as those within The Industrial Commons in North Carolina that protect workers’ rights and prioritize sustainability of the planet in all that they create. The intersection of justice for both people and the planet brings a peace that is truly a contribution to all and a return to justice.
- What are ways in your life that you have either witnessed or experienced moments of peace?
- Are there moments in your life when you have returned to justice?
Grace Adams joined the ISN staff in 2022 as the coordinator for the Catholic Ethical Purchasing Alliance. She is an alumni of Le Moyne College and spent a year as an AmeriCorps VISTA at the Rochester food bank where she assisted in the development of several community health programs.
“Peace is the generous, tranquil contribution of all to the good of all.” I experienced this in Sravatthi, which was once a thriving city in Buddha’s day. Now only two monks dwell there, sending their blessings of metta (compassion) for all out into the world. For 2500 years, vibrations of compassion and peace have been emanating from this place in Sravatthi, where Buddha spent the three months of every monsoon after his Enlightenment. I can truly say it is the most peaceful place on earth that I have had the privilege to visit. May we all be encouraged to sent out prayers of peace and compassion upon our troubled world each day.
Lovely and worth trying. Thanks for this inspiring piece of writing on true peace.