The road to world peace starts with each one of us Print
Written by Mary C. Uhler, editor   
Thursday, Oct. 29, 2009 -- 12:00 AM

editor's view by Mary C. UhlerWe laugh when women running for beauty crowns are asked about their goals in life and they say, “World peace.” We think it sounds silly to wish for such a lofty goal. How could one person make such a difference in the world — and achieve world peace, no less?

But upon reflection, I don’t think it’s an unattainable goal. Each of us can do our part to work for world peace. And I believe it’s tied in with respecting life, something to ponder as we conclude October as Respect Life Month.

Lack of respect for human life

Prayer of St. Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;

where there is hatred, let me sow love;

where there is injury, pardon;

where there is doubt, faith;

where there is despair, hope;

where there is darkness, light;

and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,

grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;

to be understood, as to understand;

to be loved, as to love;

for it is in giving that we receive,

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

One of the reasons we do not have peace in this world is because people often do not respect the right to life of every human being. If we respected every life, we would not resort to armed conflicts or war to settle our disputes unless it was clearly necessary to defend ourselves as the last resort.

Instead, individuals and nations often shoot first and ask questions later. They stockpile weapons of mass destruction in order to show their might and power. Often, people in poorer nations have no food or shelter, yet their countries continue to build up armies at the expense of their own people’s lives.

We are all one family

We should remember that all of us are God’s children, brothers and sisters. We are truly a family and we should treat each other with respect, kindness, and tolerance.

As Mother Teresa, a very worthy recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, once said, “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”

For her, world peace became a very concrete goal as she reached out in service to the poorest of the poor: the abandoned, sick, and dying.

Mother Teresa also said, “Love begins by taking care of the closest ones — the ones at home.” She would encourage us to care for our own family members, relatives, and friends, especially those in need of encouragement and help. But I’m sure she would also urge us to follow her example in reaching out to those in need in our own communities.

Look to St. Francis for inspiration

We can also look to St. Francis of Assisi, whose feast day is observed in October, for inspiration on peace-making. St. Francis also lived his life in service to the poor. He leaves behind the Franciscan Order he founded to carry on his work.

Many Franciscans minister to the poor in soup kitchens and homeless shelters. They also work with the “poor in spirit” through preaching, giving retreats, and providing spiritual direction. The Franciscans at San Damiano Priory in Monona in the Diocese of Madison exemplify these Franciscan ministries.

We can pray the Prayer of St. Francis (printed with this editorial) and take its message to heart in our own lives. Let us all remember that world peace truly does start with each one of us. Let’s begin walking the road to world peace today by respecting all human life and reaching out to help others in our families and communities!