12 Franciscan Weeks of Peace: Week 12

December 19 – 25

The thought for this week is Peace. Peace Activist Claude Thomas writes: “Peace is not an idea. Peace is not a political movement, not a theory or a dogma. Peace is a way of life: living mindfully in the present moment… We must simply stop the endless wars that rage within… Imagine, if everyone stopped the war in themselves — there would be no seeds from which war could grow.”

Peace is a gift before it becomes a task. It is a gift from our Lord Jesus. “My peace I bequeath to you, my own peace. I give it to you. A peace that the world cannot give, this is my gift to you.”
[John 14:27]

We have been gifted with the peace of the Lord; with his own peace. It is a gift that no one else can give to you. Sit and meditate on that rare and precious gift.

“It happened three years prior to his death, that Francis decided to celebrate at the town of Greccio the memory of the birth of the Child Jesus with the greatest possible solemnity, in order to arouse devotion. So that this would not be considered a type of novelty, he petitioned for and obtained permission from the Supreme Pontiff.

He had a manger prepared, hay carried in and an ox and an ass were led to the spot. The brethren are summoned, the people arrive, the forest amplifies with their cries, and that venerable night is rendered brilliant and solemn by a multitude of bright lights and by the resonant and harmonious hymns of praise.

The man of God stands before the manger, filled with piety, bathed in tears, and overcome with joy. A solemn Mass is celebrated over the manger, with Francis, a levite of Christ, chanting the Holy Gospel. Then he preaches to the people standing around him about the birth of the poor King, whom, whenever he means to call him, he called in his tender love, the Babe from Bethlehem.” [St. Bonaventure, Legenda Major]

In his Testament, Francis tells us that “the Lord revealed a greeting to me that we should say: ‘May the Lord give you peace.'” St. Bonaventure recalls, “At the beginning and end of every sermon (Francis) announced peace; in every greeting he wished for peace.” Both Francis and Clare greeted the people of Assisi with Pace e Bene! Peace and Good! As Franciscans, peace must be at the center of all our comings and goings.

Psalm Fragment:
“The mountains will bring news of peace to the people,
and the hills will announce justice.”
[Ps 72:2-4]

Reflection Question:
When are you not being peace, even if you might be doing peace?

This week:
Greet everyone you meet with “Peace and Good!” Take a sacred pause to meditate on the solemnity of the nativity of Our Lord, the poor King.

Prayer for the week:

Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God. Lord, grant me true purity of heart that I may look down upon the things of earth and seek the things of heaven, and never cease to adore and behold the Lord God living and true with a pure heart and soul.”
[Mt 5:8, cf Admonitions of Saint Francis]

[Reprinted with the permission of Carolyn D. Townes OFS, National JPIC Coordinator]