Peace be with you!

Editorial by Kathy Gillis

As Easter approaches, our hearts long to recognize the Risen Christ and to hear his words of greeting, “Peace be with you!” With these words he not only gives us peace; he also calls us to be peacemakers.

Our entire being longs for a deep abiding peace. But what does it mean to be at peace, to be peaceful, to be peace-filled, to be people of peace? How do we understand this peace, how do we teach it to our children and grandchildren, how do we live this peace in our home and community, in our nation and world? 

This issue is filled with articles that will help you to live a life of peace. We open with Karen Van Loon’s story about a growing citizen-based movement in Canada called PeaceQuest that has come together at a time when Canada is set to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War I. PeaceQuest defines peace as “an active way of living, seeking to resolve conflicts cooperatively, respecting the wellbeing of the Earth and all peoples.” This is not a passive peace, they say, but one that requires everyone’s commitment and action to make it real, long lasting, steadfast, and worldwide. We are encouraged to join this movement.

The issue also features the incredible story of Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, a Palestinian doctor who lost three daughters and a niece to shelling from Israeli tanks in Gaza. Out of this experience, Dr. Abuelaish has emerged with a powerful message of peace and compassion.

In his exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), Pope Francis maps out in detail his vision for the entire Church to be people of peace and joyful messengers of the Gospel. I am grateful to Fr. Jack Lynch for providing us with a summary of this indepth message.

Prayer and meditation are essential if we are to make this journey of peace. To till the soil of our hearts as we await the coming of Christ and his greeting of peace, Fr. Ron MacDonell has prepared a Way of the Cross that will help us to reflect on the crucified Christ in our world today. 

In her article on Centering Prayer, Kathy Murtha calls us to make space in our day for silence and meditation so as to grow in communion with Christ. Kathy shares the story of our Christian heritage of contemplative prayer and the testimonies of members of the Centering Prayer group at Scarboro Missions. We read that Mother Teresa revealed the secret of her life and work when she said: “God does great things in silence. His language is silence… Meditation is the fuel which powers a life of service to others. We must set aside this time each morning and evening to find a new energy within—God’s energy, the energy of love.”

And finally we offer the experiences of high school students in Hamilton who make peace by travelling to San José de Ocoa, the parish in the Dominican Republic where Scarboro missionary Fr. Lou Quinn lived and worked for 42 years and where he is buried. When these students walk the streets and hillsides of Ocoa, side by side with the people, they too recognize the Risen Christ and hear his message, “Peace be with you!”∞