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By Debbie Bosak

"Lord, make me an instrument of your peace." 

                                                                                                                                                                            Peace Prayer of St. Francis

   As a child of the sixties, "peace" was our mantra. We claimed it as part of our generational identity. In reality, for most of us, it was trendy - we latched on to peace without any true understanding of the depth of its meaning. We had no clear cut understanding of the sacrifices peace would demand of us, or how important it would become as time moved us forward in life. 

   Peace is very foreign to us these days, isn't it? Watch the news for an hour and question how numb we've become to the reality of what is happening in our world, in our society, among our nations, and even among our government leaders - those who are supposed to have our best interest at heart, not just their own. Civil public discourse has become a joke!

   Do you ever wonder what kind of world we will be leaving for generations to come? What horrible messes will they face? How soon will it take for them to lose their youthful idealism?

   What does God think of all this chaos we've created? What does God think of how we tend to sit back, wring our hands and whine that there's nothing we can do to fix the problem?

   But there is something we can do.

   In his book, The Gift of Peace, Joseph Cardinal Bernardin writes from his heart as he anticipates his imminent death from pancreatic cancer. He writes that God's special gift to all people is the gift of peace. "When we are at peace, we find the freedom to be most fully who we are, even in the worst of times. We let go of what is nonessential and embrace what is essential. We empty ourselves so that God may more fully work within us. And we become instruments in the hands of the Lord."

   Peace is right there within us. God put it there as a gift. There is something we can do!

   We can bring our small piece of peace to the world by finding, exploring and nurturing that peace within our own selves. What makes us anxious? What anger do we refuse to let go of? What do we persistently dwell upon, wallow in? We find the gift of God's peace by cultivating it in our own beings first. Only then will God's great gift start to overflow and spill unto others, onto our world.

   Imagine the impact if everyone in the world, everyone in your family or social circle did that!

   That's how we each might begin to advance peace in the world.

   Not everyone will do it, of course, but we can. And, when we finally stand toe-to-toe with our Lord, we can hold our heads up high and say with love in our hearts that we did our part.