Modern Peace Makers: Weekly Summary — Center for Action and Contemplation

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Modern Peace Makers: Weekly Summary

Modern Peace Makers

Summary: Sunday, October 25-Friday, October 30, 2015

“Every thought, every word, and every action that adds to the positive and the wholesome is a contribution to peace. Each and every one of us is capable of making such a contribution.” —Aung San Suu Kyi (Sunday)

“Non-violence is not a garment to be put on and off at will. Its seat is in the heart, and it must be an inseparable part of our very being.” —Mahatma Gandhi (Monday)

“I am convinced that the universe is under the control of a loving purpose and that in the struggle for righteousness man has cosmic companionship.” —Martin Luther King, Jr. (Tuesday)

“We must cry out against injustice or by our silence consent to it. If we keep silent, the very stones of the street will cry out.” —Dorothy Day (Wednesday)

“In giving of yourself, you will discover a whole new life full of meaning and love.” —Cesar Chavez (Thursday)

“Forgiveness is an absolute necessity for continued human existence.” —Desmond Tutu (Friday)


Practice: Silence

Mother Teresa (1910-1997) was born in Macedonia, lived thirty years in Yugoslavia, and spent the majority of her life in India serving “the poorest of the poor.” She founded the Missionaries of Charity, which provides homes, medical care, food, counseling, education, and more to the impoverished and sick. In her book In the Heart of the World, Mother Teresa offers this meditation, inviting us into the silence where we find all we need to live a life of peace and service.

In the silence of the heart God speaks. If you face God in prayer and silence, God will speak to you. Then you will know that you are nothing. It is only when you realize your nothingness, your emptiness, that God can fill you with Himself. Souls of prayer are souls of great silence.

To make possible true inner silence, practice:

Silence of the eyes, by seeking always the beauty and goodness of God everywhere, and closing them to the faults of others and to all that is sinful and disturbing to the soul.

Silence of the ears, by listening always to the voice of God and to the cry of the poor and the needy, and closing them to all other voices that come from fallen human nature, such as gossip, tale bearing, and uncharitable words.

Silence of the tongue, by praising God and speaking the life-giving Word of God that is the truth, that enlightens and inspires, brings peace, hope, and joy; and by refraining from self-defense and every word that causes darkness, turmoil, pain, and death.

Silence of the mind, by opening it to the truth and knowledge of God in prayer and contemplation, like Mary who pondered the marvels of the Lord in her heart, and by closing it to all untruths, distractions, destructive thoughts, rash judgments, false suspicions of others, vengeful thoughts, and desires.

Silence of the heart, by loving God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength; loving one another as God loves; and avoiding all selfishness, hatred, envy, jealousy, and greed.

I shall keep the silence of my heart with greater care, so that in the silence of my heart I hear His words of comfort, and from the fullness of my heart I comfort Jesus in the distressing disguise of the poor. For in the silence and purity of the heart God speaks. [1]

Gateway to Silence:
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” —Gandhi

[1] Mother Teresa, In the Heart of the World: Thoughts, Stories, and Prayers (New World Library: 1997), 17-24.

For further study:
Mohandas Gandhi, edited by John Dear, Mohandas Gandhi: Essential Writings
Martin Luther King, edited by James Melvin Washington, A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Richard Rohr, Dancing Standing Still

Image credit: Abernathy children (Donzaleigh, Ralph David, and Juandalynn) march on the front line, followed by Dr. and Mrs. Martin Luther King, leading the Selma to Montgomery March in 1965, Abernathy Family Photos.
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