By: Staci Stallings
First off… Happy New Year to EVERYONE!
Last night we went to Mass. New Year’s is one of those Holy Days of Obligation. One of the focuses every year is Peace in the World.
It was interesting at one point, they were doing the intercessory prayers, and the line went something like this:
“For peace in our world, in our country, in our families, and in our hearts.”
The thought went through my head that they had it in the opposite order. Most of the time, we pray for peace in our world. It’s a noble prayer. The problem is, much like Dennis wrote about New Years Resolutions, it doesn’t work. It doesn’t work because God will not fix “out there.” Why? Because even if He did, fixing “out there” will never fix “in here.” And “out there” will never stay fixed if “in here” is not right.
It’s like people who think life would be so much better if they won the lottery. They think winning a lot of money would solve all of their problems.
A long time ago I heard someone say that more money doesn’t fix problems. More money simply makes you more of what you already are. So if you are generous and kind as a “poor” person, if you had money, you would be MORE generous and kind. However, if you are a jerk… Well, I’ll let you figure that one out on your own.
There is a law at work in the universe. It’s like gravity or the law of motion. It is a fixed law, and it works every single time in whichever direction you “push” it.
This law goes like this: What is in your heart is what you will see in your world.
So if there is hatred and bitterness and resentment in your heart, you will see a world filled with hatred, bitterness and resentment. If, however, there is love and hope and peace in your heart, then you will find a world filled with hope and peace and love.
Does this mean bad things will never happen? That you will walk through life like you’re in a field of daisies? That you will never have a challenge or a bad day?
Get real. This is, after all, still life.
But just because out there is a mess (and let’s face it, most of the time, it is!), that doesn’t mean in here has to be a mess.
We pray for peace in the world because that’s easy… because we don’t see it as in our control. “Dear Lord, please make the nations stop fighting. Amen.” And then we turn around and get mad at our brother because he borrowed that thing six months ago and hasn’t brought it back.
Peace doesn’t start out there and it cannot come from out there.
Peace, joy, love, generosity (all those things that are from on high) START with you and your relationship with God. What are YOU doing today to create peace in YOU? Are you allowing God to come into your life so deeply that you are changed from the inside out?
As you find peace through a close personal relationship with God, your heart will change. As your heart changes, your relationships will change (not because of the other person but because of you). As your relationships change, your world will change.
But it doesn’t start out there. It can’t.
It starts with you. Here. Today. Right now.
If it doesn’t start with you, here, today, right now, then praying for world peace is no better than making all of those resolutions you know you will break next week, feel guilty about not keeping for a week and then forget.
If you really want peace in the world, let it begin with you and your relationship with God and then spread to the world around you. If you do that, you’ve got a shot at finding some real peace. If you don’t, you might as well save your breath for that fight with your brother.